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justice_turtle ([personal profile] justice_turtle) wrote in [community profile] readallthenewberys2013-09-09 08:48 am

Review: Calico Bush (Rachel Field)

Summary: Tells the story of one year in the life of teenage French orphan girl Marguerite "Maggie" Ledoux, indentured to an English-American family that settles in Maine in 1743.

Reaction: I like Maggie. I like a lot of the descriptions. The research is as thorough and accurate as I've come to expect from Rachel Field. I don't like the repeated emphasis on how out-of-place Marguerite is among the anti-French English settlers of the day, and I really don't like the... sudden realism, I guess: the one incident with a harshly unhappy ending in a book where almost everything turns out well. It's very like the twist in Hitty where after forty percent of the book, Hitty switches from a one-owner doll to a repeatedly lost, vagrant doll -- a relatively light, fluffy book at the start, with a sudden twist to the darker side of life. And this book's unhappy twist was really severely grim, involving (traumatic child death, highlight to read) a toddler burning to death, with the strong implication that it happened because the mother was too permissive; I'm glad I didn't read it as a kid. :-(

Conclusion: Two stars. It's well-written and well-researched, and I like some of the characters, but I don't like the book as a whole. I don't like the... feel of it, I guess. Call me unliterary, but I like fluff. ;P

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