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3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,227 Ratings  ·  188 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.
Nook, 0 pages
Published December 3rd 2010 by Halcyon Press Ltd. (first published 1884)
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Dec 17, 2014 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Go with me on this.

It’s the year 2060. We have our flying cars, vat-grown replacement organs and Kim Kardashian’s Skanky Grannies reality TV – but you know what we don’t have? Anybody that remembers The Great Gatsby. Not the book, not the movies – nothing. That seems like an almost impossibility, right? Having finished Ramona, and then reading about the success of this novel and its almost complete obscurity in 2014, I’m not so sure.

This is a romance novel, no doubt about it – my first foray int
Feb 17, 2010 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 20, 2010 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 14, 2011 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
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
Apr 05, 2010 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 28, 2008 Ramona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 02, 2011 Brooke rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
1.5 stars.


(view spoiler)
Nov 17, 2011 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 08, 2010 Karye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 10, 2012 StrangeBedfellows rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
This book is on a fascinating range of lists - the first California love story, the book that gave Southern California an identity, the "Anne of Green Gables" of So. Cal., one of the most popular books ever written (and then forgotten), the official state play of California, etc.

It's interesting. Definitely not a work of art, but as a historical time capsule and literary work, worth reading.
May 10, 2014 Colleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a heartbreaking and yet uplifting tale of a young woman named Ramona. Through life's ups and downs Ramona experiences despair, love, passion, freedom, frustration and loss. It is truly a masterpiece. Although my heart was crushed into tiny slobbery bits, this book still left me happy. Maybe it was the epic tale, the brilliant writing, the beautiful descriptions. Or perhaps it was Ramona herself. She is one of those unforgettable characters who will stay with you always. Like Jane Eyre or ...more
Oct 17, 2011 Paty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Scott Cox
Helen Hunt Jackson's classic 19th century novel has been compared to Uncle Tom's Cabin in terms of the impact it had on society in 1884. "Ramona" helped turn public opinion from Indians being perceived as public enemy #1, to a better understanding that they were often the brunt of bad public policy, victims of horrendous characterization on the part of those who vilified them as a race. After reading this novel, I also pondered how timely it is for today with regards to the Mexico/immigration co ...more
Wayne S.
Apr 05, 2014 Wayne S. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
“There had been no crises of incident, or marked movements of experience such as in Felipe's imaginations of love were essential to the fulness of its growth. This is a common mistake on the part of those who have never felt love's true bonds. Once in those chains, one perceives that they are not of the sort full forged in a day. They are made as the great iron cables are made, on which bridges are swung across the widest water-channels,--not of single huge rods, or bars, which would be stronger ...more
Apr 10, 2015 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.7 stars. Purportedly written with the goal of bringing attention to the plight of Indians (Native Americans), this turns out to be a fine yarn. Motivated to read this by having seen the silent film at its location (Rancho Camulos -, and living nearby, many of the scenes were of areas I know and find lovely. Ramona herself is a mixed Indian and white girl who mostly grows up at the home of her great aunt, the matriarch of what remains of a Mexican Rancho ...more
Barbara P
Jun 10, 2014 Barbara P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 22, 2010 Becca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 18, 2014 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, romantical
Wonderful, romantic, and tragic. This tale of California in the years shortly after it became U.S. territory is chock-full of drama, pathos, sorrow, love, injustice, acceptance, and the patient fortitude and forgiveness saints are made of. Gorgeous descriptions of the California scenery, and of the haciendas, missions, and other buildings which once occupied it.

Also, if you're ever looking for a book that will make you rail in frustration at the heartlessness of Fate in regards to the characters
Oct 01, 2015 Ebirdy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-book-group
Some of the dialogue seems very stereotypical, and I can see why the message about the plight of the Indians in California might have been lost on some, but much of Hunt's story retains it's original power, and it reads easily 130 years later.
Jan 11, 2014 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Katie Wahlquist
Sep 12, 2009 Katie Wahlquist rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Sep 15, 2014 Claudia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson is a classic novel well worth the read. Ramona is a beautiful young girl raised by a noble Spanish family in California territory. Her story is both tragic and beautiful. Everyone loves Ramona except the Senora who has raised her from a child. This relationship is the cause of much of Ramona's heartache, but Ramona finds an inner strength she was unaware of until she needed it. Ramona was originally written to bring attention to the cause of the poor treatment of the ...more
Jul 25, 2014 Carly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
A bit lengthy and I had to occasionally force myself to get back to it. This book was definitely written with a political agenda, highlighting the mistreatment of Native Americans in Southern California. Sadly, I'm sure that most, if not all, of the events occurred to real people, just not all to the same person.

The best part of the book for me was the setting, since I live in one of the towns frequently mentioned and am familiar with the landmarks and other areas described.

I'm glad I've read i
Dale Johnson
Jul 31, 2015 Dale Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: romance, American History, Indian affairs, or California settlement history and practices.
Recommended to Dale by: Media review
Ramona is a classic novel written in 1884 about a young Mexican woman, with an unloving guardian and her more amiable son, on a southern California ranch shortly after the Mexican-American war. When she falls in love with a well educated Indian man, her step-mother spitefully informs her of her birth as a half-blood Indian, and as such, unworthy of any race. She then runs away with her lover to marry and fend for herself in the midst of the American "settling" of California, in which Indians are ...more
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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...

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“We have flattered ourselves by inventing proverbs of comparison in matter of blindness,--"blind as a bat," for instance. It would be safe to say that there cannot be found in the animal kingdom a bat, or any other creature, so blind in its own range of circumstance and connection, as the greater majority of human beings are in the bosoms of their families. Tempers strain and recover, hearts break and heal, strength falters, fails, and comes near to giving way altogether, every day, without being noted by the closest lookers-on.” 8 likes
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