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A Fair Barbarian

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  101 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Distributed by the University of Nebraska Press for the University of Idaho Press
Octavia Bassett, a beautiful young heiress from Bloody Gulch, Nevada, unexpectedly descends upon her aunt in the sleepy village of Slowbridge, England. As a young woman raised haphazardly by her father in the Wild West of the 1870s, she finds their customs unnecessarily fastidious and difficul
Paperback, 258 pages
Published January 1st 1880 by Caxton Press
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Jun 11, 2008 Wealhtheow rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Cranford
Shelves: historical
A young, beautiful American heiress descends upon a tiny sleepy English town. Burnett loves gender and class stereotypes; there is nothing she likes more than to write about a lady's delicate features or a man's strong arms, and certainly every member of the lower classes is flatteringly awed by their betters. Nevertheless, the American Octavia Bassett manages to upset the usual mode just a little--when she is asked to marry a handsome, well-bred and rich Englishman, she refuses with composure. ...more
Bree (AnotherLookBook)
A novel about a young American woman who comes to visit her aunt in England, and the effect her unrefined candor has on the conservative inhabitants of the town. 1880.

Frances Hodgson Burnett's books seem to have a way of drawing me in very quickly, before I can even give a thought to what the book might be about. It was that way with A Lady of Quality (known under several different titles) and The Shuttle, although I have yet to finish reading the latter. A Fair Barbarian gets the action of the
I had no idea that she wrote "adult" (and not naughty adult, mind you) books. I loved her children's books like "A Little Princess" and "A Secret Garden" to name a few. Anyway, I liked it because it was quite comical to me how she played up the strict ways of the English folks as compared to the Americans being all wild. A bunch of hooligans, are we? Anyway - the book. I really enjoyed how the American newcomer was mostly oblivious to how her mannerisms were shocking to her fellow English neighb ...more
As, I suspect, with most, my previous exposure to Frances Hodgson Burnett was through The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, and The Lost Prince. Those books are better.
A Fair Barbarian is a harmless and mildly entertaining shift from those child-oriented books to more a young adult's realm. It's pleasantly reminiscent of Jane Austen, though less complex.

The book's strength is the characters, who are interesting and moderately likeable. However, despite a fair-size crew of young men and women loo
Jeannie Pederson
A fun read about a quiet little English village and a young American girl. Slowbridge gets quite the shock when Miss Octavia Bassett arrives on the scene, and the ensuing story is enjoyable and heartwarming. The characters are very believable, and I was intrigued at how well-developed they were for such a short book.

A plus for me was reading this one for free at Project Gutenburg!
The independent, outspoken American millionaire miner's daughter Octavia Basset causes a sensation in the sleepy, Cranford-like town of Slowbridge, England. Frances Hodgson Burnett seems to have had a special interest in American–English relations, having lived in both places.

An fairly quick and moderately entertaining read. The ending felt a bit rushed.
A charming novel about an American girl who grew up in western mining towns coming to visit her aunt in provincial England. Many contemporary reviewers saw this as an answer to Henry James' "Daisy Miller," which seems rather high praise given Burnett's lack of psychological realism, but it's a very fun, quick novel, and the characters are charming.
I love its theme; an American girl Octavia brings freshness to a dull, conservative English town and challenges its hierarchy. Gradually, the American and the British begin to accept the cultural differences and work toward mutual understanding.
3.5 rounded up to 4

This is a cute, funny, enjoyable little tale, with a bit of a twist ending. I really like Burnett's cheerfully independent heroine. While she does have to learn to give in to social mores once and a while, she makes the big decisions on her own, and has a very definite sense of her own worth. The ending, where the supposed love interest is deservedly sent packing, made me want to say, "Hellz yeah!!" out loud.
Samantha Glasser
Read this book for free through Project Gutenberg:
This book is clever and funny, even as it takes a very critical look at Victorian womanhood. It's perhaps a bit campy, but otherwise it's a quick and delightful read.
Tara Lynn
While my usual experience with Burnett has been throug her more popular Secret Garden and a Little Princess, I was very happy to read this book for the first time on It has the same sweet characteristics that are Burnett's trademark, and give me a resolve to finish more of her work.
Lynda Newman
What a delightful read!!!
The only thing that made any of this bearable was Lucia's and Mr. Burmistone's affections. And even that was dry. Everyone's demeanor was dreadful and a lot of the time they were contradicting. Bad characters, bad setting, bad plot.
Not a deep read but a good 19C tale of love somewhat like Thakery but not so cutting
This early novel of Burnett's is short and sweet. I liked it more than I thought I would.
A little gem. Nicely written.
Mar 07, 2013 Sarah marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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Frances Eliza Hodgson was the daughter of ironmonger Edwin Hodgson, who died three years after her birth, and his wife Eliza Boond. She was educated at The Select Seminary for Young Ladies and Gentleman until the age of fifteen, at which point the family ironmongery, then being run by her mother, failed, and the family emigrated to Knoxville, Tennessee. Here Hodgson began to write, in order to sup ...more
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