Friday, June 14, 2013

A Fair Barbarian  -  1881
Frances Hodgson Burnett
156 pages
genre  -  Romance
my rating  -  5 out of 5 stars

This is the first rating of  5 stars I have given since I started this blog.  I have to admit that Burnett is one of my favorite authors, but I sincerely enjoyed reading this story.  And I couldn't find any faults with it.  I would like to hear from any of you and how you would rate this book.

The town of "Slowbridge had been shaken to its foundations.  It may as well be explained...that it would not take much of a sensation to give Slowbridge a great shock."  You see, Slowbridge is used to being even and respectable, regarding the outside world with distrust.  "...tea-parties were Slowbridge's only dissipation..."

"It was Miss Belinda Bassett who received the first shock..." Who shows up at her door one morning?  Her 19-year-old niece from Nevada, America, Miss Octavia Bassett, the prettiest, the most extraordinary-looking, stylish young lady Miss Belinda had ever seen. 

Octavia is used to directing her own affairs, wears several diamond rings, and admits to being spoiled by her father.  Octavia's unique attitude and excessive frankness stuns the neighborhood.  It was quite amusing to watch how everyone in Slowbridge deals with their new resident.  I lost count how many times I had a grin on my face as I read this book.

Burnett is best known for her children's books:  A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, and Little Lord Fauntleroy.

About the author  - 

Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett was born 24 November, 1849  in Cheetham, near Manchester, England. When her father died three years later, the family had severe financial difficulties. In 1865 they emigrated to the United States, settling near Knoxville, Tennessee. There, Frances began writing to help earn money for the family, publishing stories in magazines from the age of 19.

In 1870 Frances's mother died and in 1872 she married Swan Burnett. They lived in Paris for two years while Swan studied to become a doctor.  Their two sons were born there.  After the second son was born, they returned to the US to live in Washington DC.  She began to write novels to help support her new family.  She was a popular writer of children's fiction, although her romantic adult novels written in the 1890s were also popular.

Burnett enjoyed socializing and lived a lavish lifestyle. Beginning in the 1880s, she began to travel to England frequently and bought a home there. Her oldest son, Lionel, died of tuberculosis in 1892, which caused a relapse of the depression she struggled with for much of her life.

Frances divorced Swan Burnett in 1898 and married Stephen Townsend in 1900, and divorced him in 1902. Towards the end of her life she settled in Long Island, where she died in 1924.

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