Book Review: Mistress Masham’s Repose

Mistress Masham's Repose by T.H. White

Mistress Masham’s Repose
by T.H. WhiteFritz Eichenberg (Illustrator)
4 out of 5 stars
Delightful book!!
Rereading it for the second or third time, I have enjoyed it just as much as the first time.
Orphaned Maria lives in a crumbling old palace that her ancestors built on an extensive estate full of gardens and obelisks and temples and monuments. But there is no money to repair the palace, and she lives in poverty with her governess and one old cook.

When Maria is exploring around an island in a small lake, she encounters the tiny Lilliputian people who Gulliver brought back to England after his travels. They are in danger of being discovered by Maria’s evil guardians, the vicar and governess, and Maria must use all her ingenuity to save them from being kidnapped and sold as slaves.

I love how imaginative this book is. My favorite parts are the scenes that describe how the Lilliputians make their living on the Mistress Masham’s Repose island. They fish, and hunt, and train mice as their horses. They have their little homes in the roofs and hollow pillars of the Repose cupola, and keep their tiny farm animals in stables built into the steps of the structure.

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Classic Review: Emma by Charlotte Bronte

Emma by Charlotte Brontë

Emma
by Charlotte BrontëAnother Lady
4 out of 5 stars

This book is a continuation of Charlotte Bronte’s last writing before she died. She only finished the first two chapters of this book, and it has been finished by “another lady”. I am usually skeptical about modern authors trying to finish work from a classic author, but this was well done.

The writing doesn’t exactly mimic Charlotte Bronte’s writing style, but it does a fair job. The themes and plot have many elements that I would expect to find in a Bronte story. There is a gothic moodiness, plot twists, wild scenery, and of course, complex and compelling characters.

Mrs. Chalfont is a lonely widow who adopts an abandoned child and tries to penetrate the mystery of the child’s true identity. With the help of Mr. Ellin, she embarks on a journey of discovery and intrigue to unravel the secrets the child is hiding. It is only when the ruthless Emma appears on the scene that the depths of crime and hatred become apparent, and only Mrs. Chalfont can save the innocent child she has come to love.

I loved the story so much! I was laughing and crying and clutching the book to my heart! The emotional power in the story is very reminiscent of Charlotte Bronte’s style.

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Manga Review: Anne of Green Gables

Manga Classics Anne of Green Gables by Crystal Chan

Manga Classics Anne of Green Gables
by Crystal Chan (Editor), Kuma Chan (Artist), L.M. Montgomery (Author)
5 out of 5 stars

In this classic story, Anne is an orphan who comes to live with Marilla and Matthew. She has an overactive imagination and a talent for getting into mischief, but she is delighted with her new home at Green Gables.

Condensing such a complex and deep story into manga form works very well here, and the plot closely follows the original story. Even the dialogue is almost always exactly the same as the book.

I loved the artwork so much! Beautiful panels in every chapter that draw you into the story. The artwork brings a lot of emotion into the story, and firmly connects the reader to the characters. Seeing the expressions on character’s faces as they experience joy, grief, fear, sadness, or relief, made me feel those things too as I was reading!

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Classic Book Review: Shirley

Shirley by Charlotte Brontë

Shirley
by Charlotte BrontëLucasta Miller (Introduction), Jessica Cox (Editor)
5 out of 5 stars

Caroline and Shirley are dear friends, but their friendship is tested when they both appear to have fallen in love with the same man. They never speak of it, but they each suffer alone with their hearts in anguish until the truth can be known.
Robert Moore, a mill owner, is threatened by his ex-employees when he brings in new machinery to replace their jobs. A riot ensues and the mill is attacked. Robert must act swiftly and decidedly to save his business in the face of violence, but he leaves no room in his heart to show compassion to the poor. He struggles to find a balance between charity and justice.

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Classic Book Review: A Little Princess

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

A Little Princess
by Frances Hodgson BurnettTasha Tudor (illustrator)
5 out of 5 stars
Little Sara Crewe is wealthy heiress, and she is treated like a princess at Miss Minchin’s boarding school for girls. Her father loses all his money and dies abroad, so Sara is forced to work as a servant. But she never stops behaving like a noble princess with kindness and generosity to everyone.

I always love rereading this book. Sara has such a gentle personality, and she’s so intelligent and adorable. I love how imaginative she is and how she is always making up stories and living inside her head. She has a marvelous intuition about people around her, and she can see through their facades right to their heart.

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Classic NonFiction Review: The Life of Charlotte Bronte

The Life of Charlotte Bronte by Elizabeth Gaskell

The Life of Charlotte Bronte
by Elizabeth GaskellAlan Shelston
5 out of 5 stars

Charlotte Bronte was truly an extraordinary individual. This biography written by her friend Elizabeth Gaskell is a powerful history of the tragic life the Bronte sisters led. Their strong personalities and steady faith drew them closer together, and provided the genius for their incredible writing.

I loved reading about the eccentric Bronte family, and the close relationships between the siblings. Their isolated home among the moors of Yorkshire inspired similar vigorous settings for many of their books. It was interesting to see how their personal experiences led to fictional creations like the terrible Lowood School in ‘Jane Eyre’ or the awful governess situation in ‘Agnes Grey’. There are many parallels from their real lives to their writing.

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