Book Review: Persuasion (by Jane Austen)

The dashing Captain Frederick Wentworth is ready to marry the first girl who comes after him—or so he says, with two mental reservations.  First: she can’t be Anne Elliot.  Second: she has do well in a comparison with Anne Elliot… because even though Anne Elliot broke her engagement with him eight years ago just because he wasn’t rich enough, she’s still his standard of perfection.

Persuasion is not a long book—it’s comparable to The Railway Children and Alice in Wonderland.  I recommend it for ages 15+.

If you just need a quick recap skip straight to the end; or read on through for the details!

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Book Review: Emma (by Jane Austen)

If you’ve ever thought about adding matchmaking to your list of hobbies, read Emma first in order to be forewarned about the potential side effects—making a hilarious fool of yourself takes first place in the list.

Emma is a little longer than Pride and Prejudice—to compare it to some other authors, in the same ballpark with Little Women or Hard Times.

Some things about Emma would certainly be a little over the head of an ordinary 12 year old, but I think most girls that age would still enjoy it.  15+ is a safer general estimate though.  And of course, it’s much more of a girl book than a boy book.

Jump to the end if you like for a few concluding remarks; or go straight through for a load of detail!

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Book Review: Bleak House (by Charles Dickens)

One of Dickens’ most complicated stories with a village full of interrelated characters, Bleak House takes as its theme a long mismanaged suit in the English courts of chancery, weaving that suit around each of its protagonists in far-reaching coils.

Bleak House is a long book, there’s no denying.  I think it’s a little shorter than The Count of Monte Cristo, but longer than Little Dorrit, and probably longer than War and Peace.

The plot and character relationships are incredibly complex and intertwined.  Besides, its length requires a good attention span—though the plot is interesting enough to keep you going.  I suppose a dedicated young teenager could get through it, but 17+ is the age I recommend it for.

Jump to the bottom for a brief conclusion—or just read straight on for a more in-depth evaluation of Bleak House.

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Book Review: Mansfield Park (by Jane Austen)

A story of a shy, quiet heroine, Mansfield Park is a calm book full of patient endurance contrasted with shortsighted selfishness.

By my estimate, the book is around the length of Hard Times, longer than say Stepping Heavenward, and a little shorter than Little Women.  It ranks with Jane Austen’s longer works.

Mansfield Park has a plot line that relies on some pretty complicated relationships.  The story is not told in an inappropriate way, but the implications of the foreshadowing would be likely to go over a younger reader’s head; besides, the book has virtually no exciting scenes.  I doubt a reader younger than 15+ would enjoy it.

Find my brief recap at the bottom, or read straight through for a deeper look at the book!

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Book Review: Whose Body? (by Dorothy Sayers)

In a twist on the ordinary murder mystery, not only do we not know who done it, we also don’t know who they’ve done it to.  Whose is the body that mysteriously appears, overnight, in Mr. Thipps’ bathtub?  It certainly isn’t the body of Ruben Levy… but then where is Ruben Levy?

Whose Body? is a medium length book, longer I think than most of the Sherlock Holmes novels, around the length of The Secret Adversary by Christie.

Detective stories are in my opinion usually better for teenagers than younger children, and the villain in Whose Body? is grotesquely cold blooded—besides, naked bodies are being thrown around in the course of the mystery, and in short, I wouldn’t go lower than 15+.

At the bottom are a few concluding sentences if that’s all you need, but for complete spoilers and details, read straight on!

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Book Review: Stepping Heavenward (by Elizabeth Prentiss)

If you’re looking for a work of fiction that will encourage and challenge you in your Christian life, Elizabeth Prentiss has written just the book for you.  Stepping Heavenward is a quiet read, a thought-provoking story of an ordinary life.

Stepping Heavenward is not a long book; it’s somewhere near the length of Northanger Abbey or Anne of Green Gables.  It’s decidedly a girls’ book, although a boy who enjoys literature might like it.  Since it is very introspective, it’s not likely very young readers will find it interesting.  I would recommend it for 12+.

As usual, my brief conclusion is at the bottom along with a link to the ebook version; for full details, read straight on through!

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Book Review: Our Mutual Friend (by Charles Dickens)

Mysterious disappearances, heaps of dust, a spoiled girl, dinners in high society—all this meets in Dickens’ novel Our Mutual Friend.  With Dickens’ most lovable heroine, this is a book it’d be hard not to enjoy.

Our Mutual Friend is not as long as Dickens’ longest books, but I guess it’s about the length of David Copperfield.  It’s like three times as long as something along the lines of Anne of Green Gables or Ivanhoe.  Probably a little more than twice as long as Pride and Prejudice.

Dickens’ tends to make use of a wide vocabulary and complex sentence structures in his writing style, so it would be hard for a child to understand much.  This particular book has one violent character, but in general is not as dark as some of Dickens’ stories.  I give it a 15+ age range.

As always, you can skip straight to the bottom for a brief recap and a link to the ebook, or read through for all the details!

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