A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Tasha 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.
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.
Jane Austen is visiting her brother and sister-in-law at Godmersham Park, when a mysterious lady is murdered at the Canterbury Races. As Justice of the Peace, Jane’s brother, Edward, must investigate the murder, and Jane is all eagerness to help solve the puzzle.
I really liked this story and the history behind it. There is quite a lot of real history woven into the story with Jane’s family and her acquaintances, but of course the murder mystery and Jane’s involvement in the investigation are entirely fictional.
The best part of this book is the close look at Jane’s day to day interactions with her family, her nieces and nephews, and especially her sister Cassandra. It’s fun to imagine what their family dynamic might have been like. Continue reading →
Fanny Price goes to live with her rich relatives, who make her feel inferior and criticize her. She befriends her cousin, Edmund, but is belittled by her cousins, Maria and Julia. When the Crawford siblings arrive as new neighbors, Maria and Julia compete for the attention of Mr. Henry Crawford, while Edmund gradually falls under the spell of the beautiful and wicked Miss Crawford. Only Fanny is undeceived by the Crawford’s pretty manners.
Marvelous story! Each time I reread it, I find something deeper in the story and the characters. But I always want to slap some sense into Edmund, until he realizes how delightful Fanny is.
Jane Austen’s writing never fails to amaze me. She has such a perceptive way of laying bare every thought and action of each character with exquisite insight into the little vexations and desires of human nature. Continue reading →
Anne and Gilbert are married, and they settle into their first home while Gilbert starts his medical practice in a small harbor town on Prince Edward Island. They befriend their neighbors, Captain Jim, Leslie Moore, and the formidable Miss Cornelia.
Captain Jim tells them fascinating stories of his adventures at sea. Miss Cornelia hates men and criticizes them mercilessly. Leslie Moore has had a tragic life, and her heart is bitter. Each of these people find solace and compassion with Anne as they form strong friendships that help them through the storms of life. Continue reading →
While Gilbert finishes medical school, Anne teaches at a high school on P.E.I. The snobby Pringle clan makes her life difficult, and her Pringle students all misbehave in class, until Anne finds the secret to winning them over.
I never get tired of reading these wholesome books. Even without the love interest hanging in the balance for Anne and Gilbert, this book is so full of fun and heartache both, and it never gets boring! Each character is lively and unique! Continue reading →