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3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  897 ratings  ·  148 reviews
RAMONA is the story of a part-Indian, part-Scottish girl growing up in mid-Nineteenth century California. Facing discrimination and hardship, Ramona marries but sees her Indian family destroyed as the status of Indians and Californios declines as settlers flood into California.
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Published December 3rd 2010 by Halcyon Press Ltd. (first published 1884)
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As many of you know, one of my hobbies is to read books that were once popular but have now fallen into obscurity, trying to understand the past through what excited people at the time.

Ramona, a book that has appeared in more than 300 editions since it was first published, was made into a movie four times, and inspired an entire tourist industry in the late 19th and early 20th century, is surely such a book. I've had a copy for years, one belonging to my father-in-law, and it's long been on my t...more
Helen Hunt Jackson wrote Ramona to draw people's attention to the injustice being done to the Indians living in California. She was friends with Harriet Beecher Stowe and hoped that her story would have the same impact on the nation that Uncle Tom's Cabin had in the 1850's.

Boy was she wrong. Dead wrong. Instead of awakening the rest of America to the plight of the Indians of Southern California people received it as a romance novel. The nation was gripped with Ramona fever and California took n...more
This wasn't at all what I expected! I'd always had a vague sense that Ramona was ridiculously rosy picture of "romantic Olde California" full of caballeros and things, but as it turns out it was intended as a propaganda novel about the rotten treatment of Californian Indians and Mexican landholders after the U.S. acquired California. Of course, everyone back East read it as the former, hence the Ramona pageant and an influx of Ramona tourism that accomplished the opposite of what Jackson hoped f...more
Austen to Zafón
As three stars indicates, I liked this book. Actually, I wish I could give it 3.5. I'm glad I read it, but I don't think I could do it again as it was so sad. I can't believe I'd never heard of it before, especially since I was a born and raised until I was 12 in San Diego. I guess in grade school, they don't begin yet to touch on the injustices done to the Native Americans and even to the Mexicans. We were still just learning what a mission was and some Spanish words. But I was in SD this sprin...more
There's a backstory here! While reading Passing Strange, I found a reference to Ramona (the novel shares the theme of interracial love). I couldn't help but be curious when I saw the author's name. Helen Hunt Jackson was my grandmother's maiden name. As she was born in 1889, not too long after Ramona became a popular sensation, I thought it impossible that her newspaper-publishing father (Andrew Jackson, my great-grandfather) could not have known about Jackson when he named his eldest daughter....more
I was named for this romance novel that was made into a movie a long time ago. It is a great story of the hardships of the Indians and Mexicans during the time that California was transitioning from mission districts under Mexican rule and admittance into the United states. A great love story but a bit tragic.
By: Helen Hunt Jackson

With a bit of tragedy, history and love, it tried to make this book interesting; but it was not . The story of Ramona is set in Spanish California and the beginning of American California. Ramona is caught up in the tangle of races found in Southern California - Mexican, Spanish, Indian and American, and for me, this book failed to draw me a picture.

It's an old fashioned love story, a bit slow in parts, but with a noble and pure hero and heroine. Indian Alessandro an...more
Kristina  Clark
It is definitely "a great American love story;" however, I have my doubts about it being the great activist novel Helen Hunt Jackson intended it to be. Read as a love story, it is as dramatic and tragic as the story of Romeo and Juliet. The fantastical beginnings of the novel, which read like the fairy tale Cinderella, should be taken with a grain of salt. It may be that the realism of our age kept me from enjoying it's unbelievable fairy tale beginnings. However, I did come to enjoy the novel a...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I was assigned to read this for my American Lit class. The class is structured around the topic of the Wild West, and Westerns apparently developed as a response to something called domestic fiction. What is domestic fiction, you might ask. Well, imagine a bunch of self-righteous middle class women seeking to reform society through tales of disadvantaged young heroines who triumph over adversity through virtue, piety, and kindness. Are you nauseous yet? Now add some saccharine-sweet sentimentali...more
I loved it. A beautiful but tragic romance between two lovers (one a half-breed, the other a Native American) during the time American settlers took over California displacing the Native Americans, Mexicans, and Spanish landowners who had been living there.
Helen Hunt Jackson really paints a vivid picture of what life was like during those times in California and the horrors of being cast of one's land using cruel and injustice tactics.

I can understand why Alessandro withers away from the man he...more
Wayne S.
Ramona is an orphan girl who lives on the rancho of the widow Señora Gonzaga Moreno in Southern California, shortly after the Mexican-American War. Her father, Angus Phail, was a Scottish merchant who was betrothed to Senora Moreno’s older sister, also named Ramona, but was instead married to an Indian woman by a priest in the San Gabriel Mission, and Senorita Ramona then married Don Ortegna. But several years later, after his wife had left him, Angus, who was then dying, brought his baby girl t...more

Published almsot a century ago Jackson's classic romance--in every sense of the word--recreates an already bygone era. After the 1834 Secularization of the 21 missions in the chain founded by Father Serra, the California of the grandees slowly, inevitably began to fade into historical memory. Three groups were drastically affected by the disintegration of this social system--admittedly not free of innate injustice. Ruin fell upon the devout Franciscan fathers,...more
Barbara P
I discovered this treasure inn the museum at historic Mission Inn in Riverside. This sweeping story is considered, along with Uncle Tom's Cabin, to be one of the great ethical novels of the nineteenth century. This book was a best seller in 1884 and a political and a literary success. Through the characters lives and an incredible love story Ramona moved me with its sympathetic characters and its depiction of the Native Americans' struggle in the Old West.

There is tragedy, love tested, pure hea...more
Really amazing book. It could probably be classified as propaganda--that is, literature with a cause. It's a fictional work covering actual events. The truth of it shines out with great power. Jackson shows the series of broken treaties with the Native American people through the lives of Ramona and Alessandro. A very powerful book that had a great impact on this nation.
I had a hard time with this book. The political issues overpowered character development and plot which made the whole book slow and a little boring.
Jan 11, 2014 Lauren rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes a romance with a deep message
Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson is a book that was assigned to me for school to write an analysis paper on. When I read the description of the book, I thought it was intriguing and was eager to start it. The first chapter or two are somewhat slow, but once you really read the story and immerse yourself in the vivid descriptions and beautiful word usage, you can absolutely picture yourself in the landscapes described so wonderfully by Jackson.

This tale follows a girl of nineteen named Ramona, who li...more
Katie Wahlquist
What can I say? I just re-read this book for my book club and I think I loved it even more this time around. I am totally in love with Alessandro!
(contains spoilers!)
One of the first "grown-up" book I read as a child, I re-read it again from time to time, as I have just done, and love it as much each time as I did the first time I read it.
I've climbed Mt. San Jacinto the hard way (there's a cable car...), and roamed over many of the old hiking trails of the southern California mountains, and Ramona and Alessandro have been with me, at least somewhere in the back of my mind. The story led me to W.W. Robinson's works on the southern Califo...more
Jennifer Nelson
Ramona started out well and pulled me in; it looked like it was going to win at least four stars, if not five. I was impressed with the characters, the beautiful descriptions of California, and the sweet love story that was developing. I feel like the story started to go downhill from the middle. As Ramona goes through one hardship after another you wonder if it will ever stop and it doesn't.

Also in the interest of playing up the plight of the American Indians in the late 18th century, Helen Hu...more
Sandra Jones
I found this treasure in a newspaper article about books every Californian should read. As a descendant of Europeans, Mexicans and Indians (of Mexico and California), I found this book interesting on a personal level. My genealogy research has always provided me with just the facts – vital statistics, sometimes a physical description and an occupation. I had hoped that my Indian ancestors were treated well, but after reading Helen Hunt Jackson’s book, I suspect otherwise. California’s Indians we...more

Great literature is Great in lieu of that notion that such books worthy of this distinction are virtually guaranteed to satisfy; more so to absorb as much as is given. Helen Hunt Jackson’s Romana can be considered among those ranks, as it stands the test of time, on through the new generations of readers such as myself, and thankfully so. This book is like a perfectly aged wine in that it only grows sweeter with an artful bitter undertone, the further you get in the narrative, the more time th...more
This may be the most extraordinary book I have ever read. I grew up in Hemet where the Ramona Pageant is performed, the official play of California. Reading this book was like finding out more about an old friend.

Certainly, the story is heart-breaking and terrible, but it is also wonderful. I was fairly sure that no story about Native Americans taking place in the 1890's would NOT end in tragedy, so I prepared myself. The terrible hardships and injustices Ramona and Alessandro suffered were diff...more
Christina Dudley
The propaganda classic of 1884. Jackson intended to stir American sympathies for the plight of Native Americans, which probably explains the flat perfection of her Indian protagonists, Ramona and her lover/husband Alessandro. The two are hounded pillar to post by greedy American settlers, with no recourse to law and no protection from church or state.

I'd give the first half of the book five stars and the second half three. What gives it five stars? (1) The setting: Old California, just after the...more
Lydia Presley
Sometimes I wonder if there's a point to reviewing older novels. I mean - there's obviously a point to reading them, and Ramona presents a good case for that. But after reading a book like this it's hard to imagine that others haven't read it, or something like it... until I remember that until this past semester, I'd never even heard of Ramona.

For those of you who, like me, had never thought to pick this book up let me just say that it will frustrate, awe, and inspire you. The story is one that...more
Feb 11, 2012 Deana rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Deana by: fisheye LJ
Shelves: 2012, read-kindle
I finally finished Ramona the other night. It's actually a really interesting book dealing with California and northern Mexico during the time of the Spanish Missions and when the US government was taking all the land from the Native Americans.

The title character, Ramona, falls in love with the Indian Alessandro, who has come to work on the ranch where she was raised. She is forbidden by her guardian (she's an orphan) to marry him, but she and Alessandro take off and make a life together anyway...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I didn't like this at first, but it grew on me. Anyone who cares to reasearch this book will see that Ms. Jackson wrote this to inform the American public about the horrendous crimes committed against Native Americans. It is set in Southern California shortly after America's victory in the Mexican American war

Unfortunately, very little happens, and the relationships between characters are presented in a Victorian, overwrought and overly prudent manner. The main love interest, Alessandro, the so...more
Oct 12, 2008 Caitlin rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who are interested in colonial California or period civil rights comentary.
Recommended to Caitlin by: My thesis research
This took a LONG time to read, but was ultimately pretty good. On the surface, its basically a historic romance novel and the writing is *terribly* fluffy (melodrama is no understatement, though it does become more honestly emotional toward the end.) If you can get past the flowery period writing though, the plot is unusual and never too predictable. Jackson does a lot of obvious soap-boxing for the cause of the noble Indian, and as a historical study of civil rights comentary it is pretty fasci...more
This is a classic. It was very influential in US government policy towards indigenous people. Not always in a positive way, although the author was a sincere advocate for native rights. The book just never gabbed me. It is compared a lot to Uncle Tom's Cabin for its effect on social and political issues of the time, but I found Uncle Tom's to be the much better written novel.
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Helen Maria Hunt Jackson was an American writer best known as the author of Ramona, a novel about the ill treatment of Native Americans in Southern California, and as an activist for Native American rights
More about Helen Hunt Jackson...
A Century of Dishonor: A Sketch of the United States Government's Dealings with some of the Indian Tribes Letters from a Cat Westward to a High Mountain: The Colorado Writings of Helen Hunt Jackson Sonnets & Lyrics (Notable Amer Auth Ser.J) Helen Hunt Jackson's Colorado

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“Next time!" In what calendar are kept the records of those next times which never come?” 4 likes
“The wild mustard in Southern California is like that spoken of in the New Testament. . . . Its gold is as distinct a value to the eye as the nugget gold is in the pocket.” 4 likes
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