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  • The Booklist: Book Reviews

  • Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
  • Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  • Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
  • Scarlet Pimpernel, The by Baroness Emma Orczy
  • Tree Grows in Brooklyn, A by Betty Smith
    Anne of Green Gables
    by L. M. Montgomery

    Anne Shirley is the heroine of Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne is twelve years old. She was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Walter and Bertha Shirley. When Anne was three-months-old, her parents died of typhoid fever. She has spent most of life either with cruel foster families or in orphanages. As a young girl, Anne became an imaginative day-dreamer to escape harsh reality of her life.

    As the novel opens, Anne dreams of an ideal life with a loving family and friends. These dreams nearly come true when she learns she will be adopted by a family on Prince Edward Island. Anne's arrival surprises Avonlea natives Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert. The aging brother and sister mean to adopt boy to help Matthew on their farm, Green Gables. A miscommunication leads to Anne being sent instead. Matthew can't break the news to Anne that she wasn't what they wanted. Matthew loves the talkative, enthusiastic, and outspoken young girl. This shows the contrast between the characters; Matthew is an awkward, shy man. He finds no fault whatsoever in Anne accepts of her imaginative and dreamy ways. His sister, Marilla, is initially less approving of Anne. Although a boy is still wanted and needed, Anne is permitted to stay on probation. Eventually, even Marilla takes to Anne.

    This is the story of the amazing, red-haired, temperamental romantic orphan Anne Shirley, by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne deals with the (positive and negative) forces of Marilla Cuthbert, Matthew Cuthbert, Diana Barry, Gilbert Blythe, Josie Pye, Rebecca Dew, the Pringles, and many, many others. Anne's life is like a rollercoaster and will have you laughing and crying. Consider yourself cordially invited to enjoy one of the most timeless stories out there!

    Rating= ****.5


    ~ Anne of Green Gables
    ~ Anne of Avonlea
    ~ Anne of the Island
    ~ Anne of Windy Poplars
    ~ Anne's House of Dreams
    ~ Anne of Ingleside
    ~ Rainbow Valley
    ~ Rilla of Ingleside To the Top

    Gone with the Wind
    by Margaret Mitchell That you will be swept away with the wind is not a guaranteed effect of Gone With the Wind. I was easily caught up in the story. However, my friend, not to mention any names (cough, Juli, cough) was considerably less impressed, and she had to watch the movie to do her report (I call that cheating!).

    Gone With the Wind is the story of Scarlett O'Hara. She is a rich plantation owner's daughter and pride. When we first meet her, she is only 16 years old. She is spoiled, willful, vain, and selfish; she is the most attractive girl in the county, and she makes sure she has every man in her net.

    The Civil War comes as a shock to Scarlett; it completely changes the world she was brought up in. Instead of marrying a rich son of a neighbouring plantation owner and keep living like she always has, she ends up a widow. And the man she loves is married to another woman!

    Scarlett gets more than she bargained for as a widow. She has to be tame, dress in black crepe, and have no fun at all. Now, instead of pampered plantation life, she has to adapt to city life in Atlanta during the war.

    Scarlett is close to dying of boredom when she teams up with the infamous, vile Captain Rhett Butler and promptly becomes the biggest scandal in Atlanta.

    Finally, Scarlett is doing as she wishes. But her troubles are not over: she still has to face the Yankees, Reconstruction, saving Tara, her beloved plantation, heartbreak, and the death of those she loves.

    Rating: ***

    To the Top!
    I Capture the Castle
    by Dodie Smith

    I'll admit it, I was slightly surprised when my Aunt Helen sent me this book. First of all, I had never heard of it, second of all, it didn't seem like the books I normally read. But I decided to give it a try and enjoyed it immensely.

    I Capture the Castle is the story of seventeen-year-old Cassandra and her family, the Mortmains: her father, a once-successful author with a massive writer's block; her stepmother, Topaz, a retired artists' model; her sister, Rose; and her brother, Thomas. Stephen, son of a former housemaid, is the only wage earner. The Mortmains live in "not-so-genteel" poverty in a dilapidated old English castle, complete with winding staircases, leaking roofs, and a moat.

    Here Cassandra strives, over six evenful months, to improve her writing skills by writing impromptu. She fills three entire notebooks with witty yet wistful entries.

    Says Linda Baker, "In another's hands this might have been a dreary tale, but the love in the family and Cassandra's indomitable spirit make the troubles she suffers and overcomes both funny and charming.Into the Mortmain orbit come their new landlords, the Cotton brothers, two young Americans who have inherited the lease for the Castle; and that is when the fun really begins. Cassandra falls in love for the first time and the family fortunes begin to change, bringing more challenges."

    Rating: ****

    Click Here For Boders.com's I Capture the Castle Buying Info

    To the Top!

    Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

    In Rebecca, Mrs. de Winter must adapt to her new life at Manderley, while facing opposition from Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper at Manderley and the maid of Mr. de Winter's late wife. The other servants treat the second Mrs. de Winter with an impersonal regard, but Mrs. Danvers views the inexperienced girl with scorn. From the minute Mrs. de Winter meets Mrs. Danvers, she is struck with a feeling of uneasiness and shame. It is obvious that Mrs. Danvers is still loyal to Rebecca after the heroine finds Rebecca's former room intact, maintained by Mrs. Danvers. It is soon apparent that Mrs. Danvers wants to get rid of the second Mrs. de Winter. For a fancy ball at Manderley, Mrs. Danvers suggests that Mrs. de Winter wear an exact duplicate of an outfit worn by a woman whose portrait is in the gallery. Mrs. de Winter wears the outfit to the cotillion, but her husband is horrified. After being informed that Rebecca had worn the exact same attire at last year's ball, the heroine retreats to her room, devastated. The day after, Mrs. Danvers encourages Mrs. de Winter to commit suicide.

    Another obstacle the heroine must overcome is her feeling that she could never compare to Maxim de Winter's first wife, Rebecca, who drowned in a boating accident the year prior to their marriage. Rebecca is described by others as being beautiful, charming, and clever, and the heroine fears that Maxim is still in love with his first wife. Read the book to find out the end!

    This review is by my friend Lola. Nice job!
    To Top

    The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emma Orczy

    "Lift your head even higher and into the fire we go!"

    All right, that's taken from the SP musical (which is very, VERY different from the book), but it is such a powerful statement.

    But, we return to the novel. In Baroness Emma Orczy's masterpiece, romance, intrigue, and adventure collide. The year is 1792, during the French Revolution, and the elusive Scarlet Pimpernel is the hero of the time. He is an Englishman, that much is known, but the rest of his identity remains shrouded in mystery. He travels to Paris, saving nobles in the cleverest ways from the grasp of "Madame Guillotine." So what is main character Lady Marguerite Blakeney to do when she must find his identity, and then save him from certain death?

    Rating: ***.5

    To Top

    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

    Pierette's Review:
    This book is about 400 pages long (the version I read), but it only takes about 4 days to read! This book is filled with love: Love between family, love between men and women, and love between you and the book! A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is about Francie, a young girl growing up in a lower or middle class family during the turn of the century Brooklyn. It probably sounds boring, but it is actually full of suspense! It will make you cry! (don't we just love that.....)

    Laura's note: Read it! I never have, but I want to after hearing the kudos it has received from numerous friends of mine, including Erin, Katie, Billy, and (of course) Claire, who wrote this review. So read it already! To the Top!