Posts Tagged ‘alicebemerson’

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Edwardian/WWI-era fiction at Edwardian Promenade

February 1, 2012

There have been a lot of articles and blog posts floating around lately about what to read if you’re into Downton Abbey. One in particular, which talked about Elizabeth von Arnim apropos of one character giving a copy of Elizabeth and Her German Garden to another, made Evangeline at Edwardian Promenade say, “hey, what about Elinor Glyn?” Which, obviously, is the correct response to everything. And then I read it, and thought, “yeah, Elizabeth and her German Garden was popular when it came out in 1898, but would people really be trying to get each other to read a fifteen year-old(ish) novel by a German author during World War I?” And then we decided that we could probably come up with an excellent list of Edwardian and World War I-era fiction that tied in the Downton Abbey. And so we did.

It’s a pretty casual list, mostly composed of things we came up with off the tops of out heads, a bit of research on Evangeline’s part and a bit of flipping through advertisements on mine, so we’re making no claims to be exhaustive. If you have suggestions for additions to the list, leave a comment.

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One Year of Redeeming Qualities

March 10, 2008

Last week was the one-year anniversary of this blog. I still enjoy writing about weird old books. I’m a little bit impressed that I’ve managed to keep it going for so long. I don’t know that there’s much else to say about it, but I thought I should do something to celebrate, so here’s a list of my favorite finds since I began writing Redeeming Qualities, in order of discovery.

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Ruth Fielding in the Great Northwest

March 25, 2007

So. Ruth Fielding in the Great Northwest. This one was below average, but I think al the later ones in the series probably are. There’s also a distinct flavor of racism about the main story, which involves Ruth making a movie star out of an American Indian princess. The girl’s name is Wonota, and although everyone likes her and she’s beautiful and smart, there was an unspoken “even though she’s an Indian” at the end of almost every sentence describing her.

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Ruth Fielding at the War Front

March 24, 2007

Ruth Fielding at the War Front is a nice little piece of propaganda. Stratemeyer’s perfect American boys and girls all had to do their duty by their country when the U.S. entered WWI, of course, so in this book, Ruth is working for the Red Cross, Tom is a lieutenant in the army, and Helen is doing something or other in Paris. I would probably know what, specifically, if I’d read Ruth Fielding in the Red Cross, the book before this one. Anyway, Helen is out of the picture for most of this one.

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Ruth Fielding in Moving Pictures

March 23, 2007

While I’ve enjoyed the Ruth Fielding books I’ve been reading, I haven’t been hugely enthusiastic about them. That changes with Ruth Fielding in Moving Pictures. This is my favorite book in the series. I think it’s the one in which Ruth’s potential starts to be realized, and also, it’s a lot of fun.

This is the story of Ruth’s last year at her boarding school, Brierwood Hall, and Ruth and her friends are convincingly nostalgic and sad to leave. Also, they’re not guaranteed diplomas unless they get very good grades, so they all work hard. It’s a more realistic portrayal of school life than you see in most of these series.

But the really special thing about this book is that it’s all about the moving pictures of the title. One day soon before school starts, Ruth and the Cameron twins come across a film crew as they’re out berry-picking. A pretty young actress is posing on a tree branch overhanging a river. The director keeps telling her she doesn’t look scared enough, and finally she’s like, “You know, that’s really funny, because I am scared.” And then she falls into the river. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Ruth Fielding on Cliff Island

March 23, 2007

So, it looks like I’m going to keep working my way through the Ruth Fielding books at Project Gutenberg. Ruth Fielding on Cliff Island takes place a year after Ruth Fielding at Snow Camp. Ruth and her friends — more of them this time — spend Christmas vacation on Cliff Island, which has recently been purchased by Ruth’s friend Belle Tingley’s father. Coincidentally, Ruth is acquainted with a boy named Jerry Sheming, who was run off the island by real estate agent Rufus Blent after Jerry’s uncle, Pete Wilton, was committed to an insane asylum. Yeah, it’s a bit complicated. Pete always said he owned the island, but the deeds were in his treasure box, which was buried by a landslide.

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Ruth Fielding at Snow Camp + a question

March 22, 2007

Ruth Fielding at Snow Camp is more the sort of Ruth Fielding book I’m used to — lots of little adventures and one mystery that is a kind of background subplot. Ruth, Tom and Helen Cameron, and six of their friends spend a vacation at a big log cabin in upstate New York. The setting provides the adventures: a panther, a snowstorm, etc., and the mystery involves a local boy going by the name of someone who was recently murdered.

The scenes in which the kids are supposed to be having fun are the weakest part of the book. They don’t enjoy themselves as convincingly as the characters in a book by, say, Percy Keese Fitzhugh or Carolyn Wells. Also, one of the “funny” incidents parallels a scene in Louisa May Alcott’s An Old Fashioned Girl a little bit too closely. But then, Ruth herself is a lot like Polly Milton, and that’s one of the things that raises this series above a lot of the others. Ruth actually has a personality — she’s gentle and inclined to worry, but also patient and determined. This gives her a great advantage over, say, the Rover boys, who can each be described in a word(Dick: smart, Sam: amiable, Tom: sociopath).
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Ruth Fielding of the Red Mill

March 21, 2007

After my two recent disappointments with Romance Island and The Second Honeymoon, I decided to read a Stratemeyer Syndicate book next. There’s hardly anyone more reliable than Stratemeyer; by the time you’ve read a few of his productions you know exactly what to expect from the rest, and that’s not always such a bad thing.

So. Ruth Fielding of the Red Mill, by Alice Emerson AKA various employees of Edward Stratemeyer under a collective assumed name. I’d never read this one before, although I’ve read a bunch of the ones where she’s older. It’s the first in the series, so we learn how the orphaned Ruth comes to the Red Mill to live with her uncle, Jabez Potter. He’s the surly miser type, and I like him because when he softens toward Ruth at the end of the book, he doesn’t get any less surly or miserly — I don’t care much whether characters are good or bad. I just like them to maintain some kind of integrity.

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