Book Review: Miss Mackenzie

At the insistence of a few friends, I can no longer say I’ve never read an Anthony Trollope novel!

Miss Mackenzie was first published by Trollope in 1865. Margaret Mackenzie has spent her whole life in isolation. Taken from school at age 16, she first nursed her dying father and then her ill brother Walter. After his death, Margaret finds herself at age 36 both free to discover herself and with the income required to do something about it! She moves to Littlebath (a fictional town based on Bath) and begins to determine if she will be a sinner in the crowd of Miss Todd or a saint following the teachings of Mr. Stumfold, a prominent pastor in the place.

Several proposals by various potential lovers later, Margaret finds her fortune in crisis. At this point her true character begins to shine through as she navigates the waters of both the legal and social systems of the time. And that’s all I can tell you without spoiling this delightful book. From here on, read my thoughts at your own risk 🙂

Continue reading

Advertisements

Book Review: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Adventures of Tom SawyerHaving lived in the Midwest most of my life, I’m quite familiar with the world Mark Twain paints in his novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. I’ve even visited Hannibal, MO on multiple occasions. And yet, somehow or another, I’ve made it to almost 30 years old without ever reading this book. I read a Great Illustrated Classics version once, but seriously, those are so bad all they do is kill a desire to read the original. This deficiency in my education is at long last corrected!

First published in 1876, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer paints the picture of a group of rowdy boys living in a quiet river town. Tom, Joe, and Huck are perpetually enjoying such boyish activities as running away, fighting, digging for treasure, and sneaking out at night. He seeks to win the love of his classmate Becky the way many young boys attempt: gymnastics and crazy antics in the classroom. Many of these crazy activities lead them near to, or even into, major trouble.

I feel that one of Twain’s real skills as a writer is to capture children in writing. The description of the little boy playing steamboat early in the book is spot-on. The description of Tom and Joe playing Robin Hood in the woods was captivating. Tom’s mischievous mind made me laugh out loud more than once, from nearly the first page. The infamous whitewashing scene sets the tone for the whole book:

“Oh, come now, you don’t mean to let on that you like it?”

The brush continued to move.

“Like it? Well I don’t see why I oughtn’t to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?”

He had a nice, good, idle time all the while – plenty of company – and the fence had three coats of whitewash on it! If he hadn’t run out of whitewash he would have bankrupted every boy in the village.

Image result for tom sawyer

This was a quick and pleasant read, filled with laughter. I greatly appreciated finishing a book in less than a week after the massive investment of time Udolpho turned out to be. And now, I’m missing my Midwest home only minutes from the Mighty Mississippi as I sweat it out here in Florida.

This is my 2nd book for the Back to the Classics Challenge, in the 19th Century category.

Reading Round Up February 2017

February was a better month for reading than January. I got 2 books completed – which is my goal – putting me at 3 for the year and one behind my target. Mysteries of Udolpho REALLY slowed me down. At nearly 700 pages, it took a long time to muddle through.

dscn5715

COMPLETED:

The Mysteries of Udolpho, Ann Radcliffe. (Back to the Classics: Gothic and Christian Reading: 400+ pages). Review on my blog here.

America the Anxious, Ruth Whippman (Christian Reading: Current Issue). Review on Goodreads here.

I loved this book – it made me laugh out loud repeatedly and gave me much to think about. This quote sums the book up hilariously: “Like an attractive man, it seems the more actively happiness is pursued, the more it refuses to call and starts avoiding you at parties.” (9)

dscn5716

ON GOING:

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain

Respectable Sins, Jerry Bridges

SET ASIDE:

Be Right, Warren Weirsbe. I was trying to read this alongside my Bible reading plan for the year but fell far behind. I’m going to circle back to Romans after I finish the John study I’m currently in – this book (both the Bible one and Weirsbe’s commentary) require more attention than I’m able to devote.

 

Year To Date:

Back to the Classics: 1/12

Christian Reading Challenge: 3/13