Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Freckles” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Freckles (Limberlost #1)

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  8,053 Ratings  ·  534 Reviews
Focus on the Family Great Stories are riveting novels from the past for today's readers. Each book features the complete text and, in convenient footnotes, present-day definitions for older words. They also include in-depth introductions that shed light on the authors and the times in which they lived and discussion questions.

Into a majestic forest wanders an orphaned you

Hardcover, 312 pages
Published April 12th 1994 by Gramercy (first published 1904)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Freckles, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Nanci Girl of the Limberlost comes next.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Teresa Carrigan
This book was written several generations ago. When I first read it (more than 40 years ago?) it was a bit dated already, but a basic coming of age plus love interest story, with a lot of tidbits about nature thrown in. Rereading it now, I found myself noticing the cultural differences between now and when it was written. Most noticeable were these:

1. Class stratification. Upper class people were just plain not supposed to even think about marrying those from the lower class, particularly if it
Victoria Lynn
My favorite book in the whole wide world. Just read it. :)
Toni Miranda
(Spoiler alert!) I chose this because I absolutely LOVE Laddie (also by the author). This one was okay. I would have given it one more star, but I didn't like the ending. Freckles was an orphan who didn't know his parents and who had a terrible childhood, but he turned into an honest, honorable young man. I didn't like that in the end it was inferred that he could only be such a fine young man if his parents had been rich or of noble birth. And then of course it turns out that he is the son of a ...more
Jun 18, 2013 Tweety rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoy and old-fashioned story
Even better than A Girl Of The Limberlost!

Freckles is and Irish orphan who has spent nearly all twenty of his years in a foundling home, stories abound of how, when he was only a few months old he was brutally beaten and left more dead than alive on the orphanage steps. Freckles wishes he knew for sure that it wasn't his mother who left him, that she loved him just as much as normal mothers do, after all, isn't that what every orphan dreams of?

Even once he has moved on to work as the Limberlost
A few of my friends had responded to the 10 book facebook challenge where you list 10 books that were meaningful to you in some way. A few people had mentioned "A Girl of the Limberlost" by Gene Stratton-Porter. Years earlier a co-worker had mentioned it and I had put it on my list and bought it on kindle. This book has kept haunting me so I felt it was time to finally read it. I went to look it up again and on goodreads it said Limberlost 2. Surprised, I looked up the first one in the series an ...more
Ashley Williams
Jun 08, 2015 Ashley Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-class
This was a delightful MG read! I loved every minute of it.
Dec 29, 2014 Bookworm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
I was first introduced to Gene's books by my Mom, who found a copy of Laddie for me, which started me digging for more of her books! Freckles is such a wonderful book, and I'm pleased to own my own copy now.
Jul 21, 2015 Caragh added it
I found a 1916 hardcover of this imperfect favorite in an antique shop this weekend, stepped back in time, and reread.
Apr 16, 2014 Monnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author, nature photographer and conservationist Gene Stratton-Porter was a favorite author of my late mother, also an Indiana native, who grew up perhaps an hour from what is now the Limberlost State Historic Site in Geneva. Stratton-Porter and her husband, Charles Porter, built a rustic 14-room log cabin home now far from the roughly 13,000-acre Limberlost Swamp in the early 1900s - and it was here that she wrote and five of her seven nature books and six of her 12 novels, including this one, F ...more
Jun 13, 2009 Hilarie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is truly a forgotten classic. I first read it many years ago, and recently had the desire to pick it up again. I found that it was not as readily available as many other classics, which is certainly a shame as it is a wonderful book.

The story concerns a young orphan, named Freckles, who has personally experienced many of the worst aspects of humanity in his short life. Sadly, these experiences have left Freckles with only one hand, no material possessions, little education, and most importa
Ricky Orr
My wife's 4th grade teacher awarded this book to my wife for her perfect attendance, with a note that the author lived around Fort Wayne. For whatever reason, the book sat on our shelf for all these years, unread. Because we recently visited Gene Stratton Porter's home, I decided to read the book.

What a straight-forward, sweet story, set within a simpler time around the late nineteenth century or the early twentieh century. It is a story about a young man, Freckles, orphaned as a baby, who knows
Jul 06, 2011 Rrshively rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite by Gene Stratton Porter that I've read so far. I like it even better than Girl of the Limberlost. Sometimes it's good to turn back the clock to the turn of the 20th Century and the type of writing common at that time. Of course it can be very sentimental, but can render such a good story! Most of the characters would be good role models. Freckles is such a brave loyal soul! As a side story, one can understand how the beautiful natural habitats were destroyed for the lumber an ...more
May 11, 2014 Kristy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would rate the first half of Freckles 4 or 4 1/2 stars. The last little bit was a 2, for me. So I averaged the numbers out to a solid 3. Nature-lovers and conservationists and yes, Louisa May Alcott lovers, should read this book and others by Gene Stratton-Porter.

If you have ever felt the power of the beauty of nature while standing in the midst of it, you will recognize the experience in this book.

A friend in our book group said that Stratton-Porter wanted to end the book differently but he
Who could not love poor Freckles, abandoned as a baby with his right hand cut off, without a name or family? When he looks for work and bravely holds out his right arm with the missing hand... Well, cynics need not read this author's books, or those who are bored by description or dislike old-fashioned stories. But when you want to read an old-fashioned book that truly makes you feel good, try one of S-P's.
Jul 20, 2012 Deb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the descriptions of the swamp flora and fauna, the story of Freckles falling in love and the action that surrounds protecting the land from timber thieves. I went through more tissues reading this, than watching Bambi.
Jan 31, 2010 Mitzi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vintage-novels
A very sweet book, I think I enjoyed Limberlost just a little bit more, but this was a great story, with great characters. The end is a little too good to be true, but for this kind of book I don't think you can really want anything else... ;)
Jan 07, 2016 Toni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-it-again
Wonderful story! The mix of nature study, character development, and love was beautiful. There are so many characters to adore. I will definitely read this again.
Jenna St Hilaire
Jul 10, 2013 Jenna St Hilaire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stratton-Porter was a naturalist and wildlife photographer in the Limberlost area of Indiana, where both this book and its companion novel, Girl of the Limberlost, are set. Her obvious knowledge of and love for the territory and its native creatures give life to these two books, and it seems likely that the unnamed Bird Woman is based to some extent on herself.

I read the later-written, later-set Girl of the Limberlost first, and by my judgment it's a better novel—more cohesive and marginally les
Jul 16, 2014 Scot rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
How did I miss this classic work of American children’s literature in the past? It’s from 1904, and has much of the melodrama and sentimentality of that period some might describe as saccharine—think of Pollyanna which comes along about a decade later—but it also has some thrilling confrontations with dangerous bad guys and wonderful passages extolling the beauties of wild nature in swamp wetlands. It is set during a time of big timber industry transforming the wetlands ecosystem in Indiana, and ...more
Katherine L
Aug 11, 2013 Katherine L rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Beth A.
Mar 03, 2009 Beth A. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Beth A. by: Dallas I Ward Bookclub
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 01, 2009 Deanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
4/2015: It must be that I'm getting older? For years I have struggled with these books. Now I am finding them refreshing and wholesome. Perhaps I'm seeing life for what matters most now(?): family, friendship, character, goodness, hard work, redemption. . .

I know, I know! I'm the only one in the world that doesn't like Gene Stratton-Porter and Louisa May Alcott books. I'm sorry!!!! I find these books so painfully boring....People keep picking them for their book club books...aghhh..
Wow, I’m not sure what to say about this one. Freckles is the one-handed Irish orphan who is trying desperately to make his way in the world. Luckily, someone gives him a chance. He is hired to guard timber in the swamp, and he proves to be quite the employee. Not only is he a loyal and vigilant guardian of the timber, he also become a bit of a naturalist. And, of course, he falls in love.

Oh, this is just so weird. The language is dated and strange, the plot is preachy and boring, and Freckles i
Jun 21, 2014 Tara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable read. Loved Freckles character, as well as "the angel's". I think it would have been an even more touching story if the angel had been able to accept Freckles even with a nameless background. And actually she would have, but the society of the day could not have, and he knew that. However, I have recently learned there is much truth in her statement that Freckles own nature proved he was of honorable stock, although it could have been honorable no matter the socio-economic class.

I a
I'm pretty sure I like this much better than A Girl of the Limberlost, but it does get a bit sentimental/soppy, and I even had to stop a few times to figure out why on earth the people were objecting to the things they did, as that is so far removed from what is considered today, and seemed to me to be of such slight degree. May bear re-reading for all that. I agree with another reviewer that the "progress" aspect of the natural habitat clearing was strange and awkward to a modern reader as well ...more
Apr 05, 2010 Christi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the book that actually comes before "The Girl of the Limberlost," and answers several questions I had reading that book. I love both books--to me, they're classics not because of unusually awesome storytelling, but because they are great little portraits of ideals of that time period and place--the Midwest, early 20th-century, as if written by a character from The Music Man (the librarian?). They are dripping with sweetness--a little too much at times--but reflect the author's burgeoning ...more
Jan 23, 2017 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
First read about 15 years ago. This is a fairly emotional book, in that everyone seems to be brimming with strong emotions nearly all the time. Be aware that this story doesn't completely translate to modern sensibility. Deforestation being a good thing, physical violence to teach a bad guy a lesson, and the idea that being a noble person is simply genetic all grate a little.

That being said, it was worth a second read. If you like books from the early 1900s, then give this one a try. The next b
Celeste Batchelor
I loved the character of Freckles. It makes me sad to know that people can have such lonely lives with such a good heart. My only complaint is that the ending is a bit contrived. I don't want to spoil it, so I won't, but it seems a bit too easy and canned. I do love that the author shows some humanity in the characters and deftly models the orphan viewpoint, the questions they always have and the doubt of their parentage.
May 07, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama, classics, romance
Definitely sappy but beautiful too. Cute love story. It is strange though to read about someone's love of nature while at the same time they are happily employed by those destroying it with no thought or care to its preservation. Early 1900's was a different time for the Naturalist, I suppose. Now, we are hopefully fighting hard to preserve or restore these stunning ecosystems.
Pat Jennings
Jul 24, 2013 Pat Jennings rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a sweet story written in the early 1900's about and Irish young man who made his way in the world on his own spirit and desire to belong.
I am going to recommend this book to my Irish friends and to naturalists as there are some glorious parts describing the flora and fauna of a now depleted Indiana wetland. Even though sappy stories are not my thing, this one is endearing.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A School of Her Own (Grandma's Attic #6)
  • Self Raised
  • Mary Emma & Company (Little Britches, #4)
  • Mother
  • Calico Captive
  • The Shepherd of the Hills
  • Emily of Deep Valley (Deep Valley, #2)
  • Jack and Jill
  • Clover (Carr Family, #4)
  • Kilmeny of the Orchard
  • Blue Willow
  • Understood Betsy
She was an American author, amateur naturalist, wildlife photographer, and one of the earliest women to form a movie studio and production company. She wrote some of the best selling novels and well-received columns in magazines of the day.

Born Geneva Grace Stratton in Wabash County, Indiana, she married Charles D. Porter in 1886, and they had one daughter, Jeannette.

She became a wildlife photogra
More about Gene Stratton-Porter...

Other Books in the Series

Limberlost (2 books)
  • A Girl of the Limberlost (Limberlost, #2)

Share This Book

“He only knew that he had lived up to his best impulse, and that is all any one can do.” 11 likes
“Freckles never tired of studying the devotion of a fox mother to her babies. To him, whose early life had been so embittered by continual proof of neglect and cruelty in human parents toward their children, the love of these furred and feathered folk of the Limberlost was even more of a miracle than to the Bird Woman and the Angel.” 5 likes
More quotes…