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Celia Garth

4.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,007 Ratings  ·  254 Reviews
This is a story about a girl who wanted things to happen to her.

Celia Garth lived in Charleston, South Carolina, during the American Revolution. She had blond hair and brown eyes and a sassy face, and she worked in a fashionable dressmaking shop.

Things did happen to Celia, but not as she had planned. The king's army captured Charleston. The ravisher Tarleton swept through
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 1959 by Thomas Crowell Co. (first published 1959)
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The Unknown, Hidden Gems of Historical Fiction
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Rosina Lippi
Jan 20, 2010 Rosina Lippi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wrote the introduction for this edition of Celia Garth, but it appears under my pen name, Sara Donati. And here it is:

At age thirteen I discovered historical fiction by means of Gwen Bristow's Jubilee Trail, and with that began a life long preoccupation with stories set in the past.
By the time I was seventeen I had read hundreds of novels about civil wars (British and American), the Revolution, the Anglo-Saxons and the Norman Invasion, ancient Rome and Greece.
I considered myself something of
Apr 20, 2015 Tweety rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: American Revolution fans
Recommended to Tweety by: Misfit
Celia Garth, was fabulous.

I mean, really. It was the perfect gloomy day read.

I liked how Celia grew from a young twenty year old to a mature young woman. She went from thinking the war was dull since she couldn't see it to thinking it was a horrible thing. She learned that it was possible to love two men, and that sometimes what you think you want isn't really it.

Jimmy was a tall, lanky and ugly captain of the revolution. He was so kind to Celia, helping her catch her dreams and watching out
Naomi Sarah
Mar 09, 2016 Naomi Sarah rated it it was amazing
Beware. Capital letters ahead.


THIS BOOK. GAH. I can't tell you how much I loved it and enjoyed it and hugged it and cooed over it and gushed over it. Every time, during the day I read this book in (yup, I read it in just a little more than one day), when one of my siblings came past the place where I was reading, I would say, 'OH THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD.' (And they would say, 'Yes, yes. You told me.')

This book is SO me. It's pinky and twinkly and deep and sweet and golden and flut
Aug 20, 2008 Misfit rated it it was amazing
This is the tale of Celia Garth, a 20 year old woman trying to make a living as a seamstress in Charleston, South Carolina during the Revolutionary war. The author does a great job of setting up the scenes of the town and plantations, and the history of the time. We follow Celia and her friends through the seige of Charleston by the British, living through the constant shelling and lack of food until the final surrender.

At first, things seem normal after the surrender and Celia begins to build
Aug 09, 2012 Laura rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: junior high and up
Shelves: 2012
This book is what all historical fiction ought to be - accurate historic facts and a gripping story line of fictional characters. I enjoyed it so much, I plan on purchasing the book so it can be read again! It's a great companion to "Johnny Tremain" because in that book you have a male hero right in the middle of all the action, but in "Celia Garth" you have a female hero on the outskirts of it. I love getting the two perspectives.

Celia Garth, the main character, is a naive girl working as an a
Felicity King
Ahh, it was splendid!
It deserves 5 stars, absolutely! It was so capturing and I experienced almost every feeling that there is when I read it: love, pity, joy, envy, hate, glee...
The start was boring. And I didn't like Celia at all in the beginning. Later - that was, after the war - I began to like her more.
But, ten things I liked the most:
1. The fact that Celia was a seamstress.
2. Vivian. Oh, she was splendid! My favourite character probably.
3. Luke. I liked him. Don't ask why.
4. Vivian's hour
1) The jacket flap gives away the plot. Don't read the whole thing!
2) This is a story about war. There are horrific acts of violence that appear as part of the plot. You can't skip it because the whole plot depends on it. The war action is told rather than shown, but it's told in enough gruesome detail to be a textbook, similar to An Infamous Army.

Plot summary without spoilers

Celia Garth is young, pretty and bored to death working as an apprentice seamstress in Charleston, South Carolin
Apr 13, 2013 LemonLinda rated it it was amazing
This was such a comfort read for me - quick and easy historical fiction set in Charleston during the American Revolution with strong, lovable characters and a good storyline. That is a perfect read for me. Celia Garth is a strong, independent young woman who lost both parents as a child and lived with her uncle and his family who although in the planter class struggled a bit. When the family begins to try to marry her off she turns to her talents as a seamstress and she secures a place with a we ...more
Jul 04, 2015 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had read most of this book a long time ago, but I never finished it! As I started to read it again, I wondered why I had liked it so much. The writing was a little choppy, and Celia was questionable. But then Luke walked through the door... And the book got a billion times better. Well maybe he's not that great, but he's pretty awesome.

I loved this book for so many reasons. One of them is Francis Marion. We watched the Disneyland Swamp Fox miniseries a while back, and I fell in love with the
Amy S
Jul 12, 2016 Amy S rated it it was amazing
Celia Garth is a young and pretty girl who works in a dressmaker's shop in Charleston. Although the Revolutionary War is being fought, Celia really doesn't care as it doesn't seem to affect her life much. She only knows she wants adventure and fun.

But when the British invade Charleston and her life is changed forever, Celia finds out what she is really made of and what she really cares about. She is forced to grow and change through times of devastating loss and true joy. She finds courage as a
Nov 17, 2015 Stacey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
I've been meaning to read a Gwen Bristow novel for quite some time. The novel was a lighter read than I had expected, some parts a little predictable, but I still found it very enjoyable. Celia was a bright character that has to overcome a lot in a time of war and you find yourself rooting for her. There isn't a whole lot of adult historical fiction set during the Revolutionary War which made this a unique experience. I would recommend this to historical fiction fans!
Ruth Chatlien
Jan 06, 2016 Ruth Chatlien rated it it was amazing
This was one of the first books to make me love historical fiction, and I so enjoyed reading it again. I loved the characterization of Celia and the portrayal of the time period just as much as I first did forty-some years ago.
Sep 09, 2013 Tilara rated it it was amazing
Even after the 100th read of this book, I still love it and would continue to recommend it to my friends.
Jul 29, 2012 Margaret rated it liked it
It's always interesting to go back and re-read books one read as a child/teen, as is the case with this book. This is the first book where I learned about the Swamp Fox (Frances Marion) and Revolutionary War in the South. I was struck by the fast pace of the book during the siege of Charleston (or Charles Town as one character wrote). The author definitely knew how to keep my interest when describing Tarleton's raids, the hardships of Marion's swamp rats, and the tension of those on plantations ...more
Sep 07, 2015 Terri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Picking up this book again was like reuniting with an old friend. I first happened upon this book as a teenager as I roamed the shelves of my local library. After that, I returned often to check it out again and again. What can I say, I'm a sucker for historical novels, especially that involve women and more especially with a little romance.
In my current city, the local library only has 1 copy of ANY book by Gwen Bristow and that is truly a shame. I just finished reading "Thes is My Words" by N
Aug 11, 2009 Cassie rated it liked it
This book took forever for me to get through. I usually really enjoy romantic historical fiction, but for some reason this book was soooo slow. I kind of felt like the first half of this book was too cheerful, too wholesome, too "Leave it to Beaver", too artificial in some way. I felt like the characters in the book were plastic. Finally about half way or so, the book got real for me. I enjoyed the last 1/3 of the book, but that did not make up for the syrupy first half. All in all, it was good, ...more
Jun 21, 2015 Jodi rated it liked it
This is summer reading for incoming juniors at OHS. I think it would make a good Hallmark movie.
Karen Hartshorn
Oct 13, 2014 Karen Hartshorn rated it really liked it
Recommended to Karen by: Book group
This was a good book. I have seen reviews comparing it to Gone With the Wind but for the American Revolution. I guess that kind of works. It was not so well developed as GWTW but I like the characters much better. I didn't spend most of the book wanting to thottle Cilia. She started out young and immature but she grows up. She is able to make the transition to wife and mother unlike the spoiled brat in the other book. I really liked the second half the best though. The first half was kind of slo ...more
Aug 27, 2015 Beth rated it it was amazing
As with all of Gwen Bristow's novels, I have read, I enjoyed Celia Garth immensely.

Set in Charleston, South Carolina during the Revolutionary war, Celia Garth is a fascinating read.

Celia is the heroine that every young girl as a reader can identify with. She is feisty, determined, and is trying to climb out of poverty and distinguish herself as a an individual.

Celia secures a position as a seamstress in the local tailor shop. At that point we are introduced to a number of characters including
Mary Anne
Apr 10, 2009 Mary Anne rated it it was amazing
This was the first novel I ever read. I was around 12 years old and I'll never forget the experience. It's historical fiction set in Charleston, SC during the American Revolution. And it's a romance. What more could an adolescent girl want. I went on to read every book written by Gwen Bristow and perhaps this is where my love of history began. These books are light but very interesting and gentle by today's standards. I would be comfortable recommending them to any parent for their daughters.
I don't know if I would have eventually found this book anyway but it was in the library of the girls' school I attended in junior high, and I fell in love with it immediately although previously had not been much of an American History fan, other than Elswyth Thane. It is still a book that is wonderful to reread! Bristow's writing style has a lot of similarities to Frances Parkinson Keyes' but I think is warmer and less mannered, thus has not become as dated over the years.
Harriet Showman
Feb 14, 2016 Harriet Showman rated it really liked it
Here's the question I remember posing to myself when I read Celia Garth many decades ago: Would I be able to be as courageous as she was in a similar circumstance? (an intriguing query for an intense young girl nestled in a first world culture)

But isn't that the thing about privilege? Doesn't status bring a responsibility to speak? I remember posing that question to a colleague's husband at the beginning of my career. He laughed. Didn't I know that only (white male) persons of property had stat
Mar 19, 2016 Robin rated it really liked it
As I started CELIA GARTH, I felt that the writing was a bit simplistic. The first paragraph is a description of Celia's looks, and I was almost reminded of a child's chapter book. But it didn't take long for me to be drawn into Celia's life, and either the writing got better or I stopped noticing it.

When we meet Celia, she is a twenty-year-old apprentice at a sewing shop in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1779. The country is at war with the British, but Celia is busy living her life and not rea
Jun 23, 2016 Janne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story

The beginning of this book almost made me quit, but I hung in there and it did get better. The writer used an excess of words to tell the story and that was annoying, but overall the book kept me interested. There were times where the scene changed from one location to another in the next paragraph and no mention of getting there. That is poor editing for me. I am not sure if all the history was reasonably accurate, but a couple of things were so wrong in time and stood out to
Jan 19, 2009 Carrie rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, as it showed a side of the Revolutionary War I had never known anything about. Celia Garth helps the Continental forces by spying for their cause working in a Tory dress shop in Charleston.

I enjoy Gwen Bristow, and while not as "meaty" as Jubilee Trail or Calico Palace, it is nonetheless a good read.
Heather Reese
This book is set in the time of the Revolutionary War. Celia is the main character who uses her strong personality and character to assist in the cause. She begins working for a seamstress and through developing friendships becomes a spy for the patriots. This book is full of romance and all the emotions and dreams we want in life conflicted with a nation at war.
This is one of my favorite books! I loved the seamstress gone spy take on things, and I especially enjoyed a woman’s perspective of t
May 28, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it
This is the 2nd Bristow book I've read. The author does her research well. Loved the story line and characters.
This story takes place during the Revolutionary War period. It tells of the early plantation owners in the Carolinas. Celia is a young girl who has lost her parents early and lives with an aunt and a not-so-favorite cousin. She decides to go into Charleston to get a job rather than be under her cousin's thumb. She becomes a front room girl in a dress shop. She falls in "like" with a you
Jun 09, 2016 Anne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I read this in high school and it is my favorite, maybe the only, historical romance that I like. It is set in the Revolutionary War which is a particular favorite of mine and the heroine is a seamstress, which I love sewing. It has many favorable attributes.
Nov 13, 2013 Chris rated it liked it
Shelves: hf
It showed up on a recommended list and as soon as I saw the title, I know I had read it in my teens.
Oct 23, 2014 Deborah rated it really liked it
In pondering why I enjoyed this book as much as I did, I realized that the history and place (Charleston during the Revolutionary War period) was as prominent as the characters Mr. Bristow created. I appreciated that. She wove the daily lives of her characters into the fabric of the time, and of Charleston, South Carolina. Several years ago, we lived quite close to where the story took place, and that gave the book a bit of nostalgia for me, and made it a bit more personal.
When I first began r
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American author and journalist. She studied at Columbia University and afterwards wrote for a number of literary magazines and journals. Eventually she moved to New Orleans, and worked at the Times-Picayune. She became interested in longer forms of writing—novels and short stories—through her husband, screenwriter Bruce Manning, and published her first novel in 1929.

Bristow reached the pinnacle o
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“I’m not really beautiful,’ she said to herself, ‘but tonight I feel beautiful. And I look like a girl who feels beautiful.' (84)” 12 likes
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