Book Review: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

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This is only known novel by the middle of the three celebrated Brontë sisters, who died at age 30 only a year after it was published in 1847. The rumor that Emily was putting final touches on a second novel adds a tragic mystery to the world of arts and letters, right up beside Beethoven’s Tenth Symphony and the lost episodes of Doctor Who. This is especially frustrating since Wuthering Heights has been argued more and more to ... Read More »

Book Review: The Wild West Witches by Michael Molloy

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This is the third tale in a series featuring up-and-coming “Light Witch” Abby Clover and her best friend Spike. This time, Abby’s Dark Witch nemesis, Wolfbane, has hatched another evil scheme to destroy all the Light Witches-starting with Abby and her friends-and take over the world. To give you an idea, without giving away too much, it involves a new and more powerful source of Black Dust that is more powerfully evil than any weapon ... Read More »

Book Review: Villette by Charlotte Bronte

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This 1853 novel is important in many ways. For one, it is the last novel to be completed by any of the three celebrated Brontë sisters, and it shows the furthest development of an artist whose career as a published author started with Jane Eyre. It draws on its author’s experiences as an English teacher at a boarding school in Brussels, where (among other unhappy experiences) she suffered from loneliness, homesickness, and possibly an inappropriate but ... Read More »

Book Review: Seven-Day Magic by Edward Eager

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The seventh magical book by mid-twentieth-century American author Edward Eager pays homage, once again, to his favorite children’s author: E. Nesbit. But it also makes references to the Oz stories of L. Frank Baum, The 13 Clocks by James Thurber, the Narnia tales of C. S. Lewis, the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and the author’s own Half-Magic. It also visits the world of Charles Dickens, the desert island of Robinson Crusoe, and the wanderings of a medieval knight errant… but the “magical world” ... Read More »

Book Review: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

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  A good friend of mine recently sent me Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair as a gift. Thanks, Heather! But I was sure that I couldn’t truly enjoy such a book until I had first read this novel by one of the three gifted Brontë sisters who lived such sad, short lives in and around Haworth, Yorkshire, and who each wrote an enduring novel (Emily’s was Wuthering Heights and Anne’s was Agnes Grey). Written in 1847, Jane Eyre is an expansive romantic novel ... Read More »

Book Review: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

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Published in 1848, the year before her death at age 29, this was the second novel of “the other Brontë sister.” It stands out among the seven novels those three sisters wrote between them—though not necessarily as the best-executed piece of writing, nor as the most daring structural experiment, nor the most enduringly appealing romance. It stands out, rather, as a searingly realistic depiction of a failing marriage at a time when wives were still ... Read More »

Book Review: The Time Witches by Michael Molloy

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The sequel to The Witch Trade finds the Grand Master of the Ancient Order of Light Witches, Sir Chadwick Street, about to marry his personal assistant, Miss Hilda Bluebell. All the Sea Witches of Speller are excited to host such a prestigious and joyful occasion, in which all the people who helped defeat the head Night Witch, Wolfbane, are involved. But Wolfbane is not altogether out of commission. While the wedding plans come to their climax, Wolfbane ... Read More »

Book Review: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

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The youngest of the three literary Brontë sisters lived only 29 years (1820-1849) before succumbing to tuberculosis, a family tradition that had already claimed all but one of her five siblings. Besides a good deal of poetry, Anne Brontë wrote two novels: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall—shocking in its time for its unflinching depiction of a woman fleeing her abusive drunk of a husband and making a new life for herself and her child, in defiance ... Read More »

Book Review: Magic or Not? by Edward Eager

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In yet another story that brings the magic of E. Nesbit into mid-twentieth-century America, Eager adds an additional twist: you’re never sure whether the wishing well made it happen, or whether there was a more natural explanation for the things that happened. The things that happened, happened to James and Laura– twins who have just moved to a very old red house in the Connecticut countryside with a supposedly magical wishing well in its front yard. They ... Read More »

Book Review: No Flying in the House by Betty Brock

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When I was a young boy, I had two grandmothers who both strongly encouraged me to become the avid reader that I am today. They did so in different ways. The one that I mentioned in my review of Piers Anthony’s Xanth series simply gave me unlimited access to her enormous library, none of which was really written for children. She was also willing to talk with me, as one adult to another, about books we had both ... Read More »