The Children of the New Forest
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The Children of the New Forest

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  1,823 ratings  ·  65 reviews
In The Children of the New Forest, Marryat describes the trials and triumphs of the four Beverley children, orphaned during the English Civil War and forced to take refuge with a poor woodsman in the New Forest. This is the first annotated edition of a great children's classic, which has retained its popularity since 1847.
Paperback, 303 pages
Published October 1998 by Penguin UK (first published 1847)
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When I first read this, I adored this and thought it was pretty much perfection. I read it over and over again, until the covers fell off my copy. I had that reaction to a lot of children's books, and I can't quite find the enchantment again in this one, which makes me sad. I decided to reread it after I came across a reference to it in one of the books I read for Introduction to Children's Literature.

It isn't really a very easily accessible text in some respects: rather biased, sometimes dry, r...more
The title "Children" of the New Forest is a little misleading. I had only skipped the blurb before reading so I thought this book would be about four little kids playing in the New Forest. Well, it wasn't.
I really liked the novel anyway. It has a bit of everything in it: farming, adventure stories and a love story. I enjoyed reading it a lot, although I found the end a little hurried: Almost ten years are told in one chapter. It seemed like the author wanted to put the story the an end as soon a...more
Elizabeth Moffat
This book tells the story of four children - Edward, Humphrey, Alice and Edith, whose distinguished father Colonel Beverley is killed during the English Civil War while fighting the cause of King Charles and as a result, they become orphaned. An old forester, Jacob Armitage, whilst walking in the woods one days hears a group of men fighting against the king aka Roundheads forging a plan to set fire to Colonel Beverley's mansion, burning everything within, meaning that the children are in mortal...more
I started reading this book a year ago, but gave it up, it's a book you have to be in a certain mood to read... well for me anyway... but if you do find yourself putting it back on the bookshelf, remember to get it down one day when you're in need of something wholesome, historical but also exciting to read. Because this book is one of those rare things; it gets better with age. Sort of like wine, or so the saying goes. But anyway... what I'm trying to say is that it's a heavy read (it was publi...more
This one seems to be in the same line of young adult fiction as Ballantyne or Stevenson (not that the writing is of Stevenson quality, just the same genre) - Stories For Boys, you know, kids out on their own, with no adult supervision, having to make their way in the world and participating on historical events in the meantime - in this case, the trouble between the Cavaliers and the Roundheads. Not a bad story, but I should have read it back when I was a teen myself. It would have hit the spot....more
Kristina Lareau
As my first real foray into Victorian Children's Literature, I was pleasantly surprised to find this novel quite enjoyable despite its didacticism. Granted, the instructions on how to catch wild cattle, and put potato skins on burns will be helpful if ever the apocalypse happens.

I did find the plot quite engaging, though the characters were quite difficult to differentiate until about half way through.

And the ending...the last 10 pages covers about 7 years, throwing in details to wrap up the st...more
I wish I had read this as a child. It would have added greatly to the fort-making, food-finding, and hiding from the grown-ups fun.

As an adult I found it a quick and fun read. It's really more of a "how to survive in the woods/making your own farm if you start with a cottage, hunting dog and pony but not much else" with a bit of danger and excitement thrown in for good measure. Also "how to escape from the battle of Worcester once all is lost" and "how to hide your Royalist sympathies and frien...more
Wendy Lavery
I read and loved this book as a child, was drawn in by the story and atmosphere. Years later I started reading it to my children, who were of an age to enjoy it. We all hated it and when I persisted in order to 'give it a chance', I had a rebellion on my hands. I obviously read it first at exactly the right age and could never recapture the spell. Where I had seen excitement as a child, there was only dry pedantic writing and unexciting characters. Oh well, sometimes you just can't go back.
Erin Cox
I'm going to honest--I think I mostly like this book because of the premise: Four kids lose their parents and have to take care of themselves in an old house in the forest. And as my sibling will tell you, this was always my favorite playtime premise.
I have read The Children of the New Forest a couple of times now & enjoyed it both times. The characters seem so real you feel they pain, sorrow & joy. Will go back for sure & read it again soon.
Tinath Zaeba (Tizzy/Titly)
really like this book. I am not a fan of classics, but this is an exception. It takes in an eventful, interesting and thoroughly elaborate journey to their fragile childhood to their rough-and-touch adulthood. The character's developments is amazing. How little, fragile and inexperienced they were, and in less than year, they knew how to cook, sew, build and fend themselves, whereas before they couldn't separate salt from sugar.
And Edward's hot. Bonus.
Interesting, eventful, sweet, charming and...more
John Fuller
As sexist and racist as you'd expect a book written in 1847 about the Civil War to be! Setting that aside, this is a fun read and a charming little story. The fact that it focuses more on domestic life than political intrigue (it's a childrens' book, after all) appeals to me. It also puts across the grey areas of loyalties in that era very nicely. That it pairs everyone off neatly in the end, and how unfeasibly capable the children all are from an early age, appeals to me less - Edward in partic...more
Nothing special here. During the Commonwealth, the Beverly family house, near the New Forest, is burned down by the Roundheads, with the entire family believed destroyed. However, the four children, Edward, Humphrey, and two girls whose names don't really matter since they have virtually nothing to do or to distinguish between them, take up residence in a cottage in the forest. They're sort of junior Robinson Crusoes in the woods, though they have a loyal old family retainer to help them at firs...more
I listened to the audiobook of this when I was young, and I remembered absolutely loving it and then not being able to find a hard copy anywhere. So when I finally got my hands on a Kindle, it was one of the first things I looked for.

As with all things you enjoyed when you were young, with the exception of Winnie the Pooh, it turned out to be not quite how I remembered it. I found it a lot more straightforward, with a lot less nuance than I would expect of novels - even children's novels - that...more
Eunice Catherine
Do you ever remember the time of your childhood when you found an old tattered book while digging up every shelf and box in your house during a long summer vacation just because you were bored?? Well, that is how I found this book. I started reading it just to pass time and then as it went on I really started liking the book. I don't know how I'd feel if i re-read the book now, but at that time I loved it in spite of knowing nothing of it's background. I even wanted to go live in the forest for...more
I read this with my daughter as part of the Ambleside Online homeschool curriculum for Year 3 and it was surprisingly good. The language was archaic, but the story was engaging: the four orphaned children of Cavalier Colonel Beverly escape from the burning of their estate at Arnwood and come to live in the New Forest under the protection of a wise forester, Joseph Armitage, until they are old enough to fend for themselves. Each child discovers talents and skills that help them to survive and pro...more
after adapting to reading text written in old - english style language, which is used throughout the book, this story of four noble - born children forced into a life of near - poverty is very enjoyable indeed.
set in civil war times of about 1650 or so, the story is slow, but not boring, as, i suppose, was life in those days. telling of how the four children survive day to day living in the forest, rather than the castle they were born into, and how they become independant and self sufficient, t...more
This was an interesting book. All about the four children of the Beverly/Armitage family. A decidedly royalist and anglican bent to this one. A lot of prejudices dealt with and also overcome to a point, but still they retain the whole "conquerer" and "conquered" attitude. It was very condecending and stil I wanted to continue reading. I guess that it was a product of its era, written at 1847. Funny how it is addressing a time 200 years prior. I find the ideas of this history facinating and also...more
I loved this book as a child. I read and re-read it. But it hasn't stood the test of adulthood very well, unlike Swallows and Amazons, which I also re-read recently. The story is good and you do get dragged along by the plot and what happens, but the writing seems stilted and awkward and very, very old-fashioned (it was published in 1847 but I think he was using what he thought of as being the language of the civil war, which is when the book is set, so it's even more antiquated-feeling). I woul...more
Sam Woodfield
This novel is very typical of many classic novels of the time with a ploddy pace and not 'action' suspense sequences that are common in modern novels. However, it was still a very pleasant read. The characters are well constructed, with each child havong their own personality which comes across very well in Marryats writing, and the history which is embedded into the story is very interesting (although I'm no history buff so dont know how accurate it relly is).

Overall this is a nice little read...more
A story about 4 children who become orphans when their father, a high colonel in duty of the king, died. They survive in an old house hided in New forest. A large wood owned by the king around 1647 in England. The king is murdered so they have to remain secret. Although the description on the back attracted me I didn't like the book much. I think it is too sweet. The children behave so good, I can;t believe it. The story is also quite predictable. And the love-story-part at the end is so bad tol...more
This is one of my favorite children's classics. If you enjoyed Robert Louis Stevenson's "Kidnapped" or Walter Scott's "Ivanhoe" this is a classic for you!

It is set in England during the civil war. Four children of a cavalier nobleman, killed in the fighting are rescued by an old forrester, Jacob Armitage, from a house fire set by the Roundheads. To save their lives they become the "grandchildren" of Jacob and must learn to live a peasants life, using their wits and new learned skills to bypass t...more
Interesting story set shortly after the English Civil War and before the restoration, biased toward the Royalist cause.
Recently got back to this period in the family tree, just wondered how those people were affected. Probably on the Parlimentarian side. Especially as the Royalist attack on Leicester and burning down Nottingham castle were both nearby.
Can tell that this is geared toward Victorian children, with there being two boys and two girls. The boys learn to hunt, farm and the girls to co...more
I was interested in the story itself, but didn't like the didactic tone. Reading this book felt like I was being lectured to, rather than being told a riveting story.
A rich and wonderful look at the English Civil War from the perspective of four orphaned children who were forced into hiding during the search for Charles I. The children's survival in the woods, their ingenuity and adaptation as well as their quiet acceptance of their new circumstances made for a terrific story. But as the book progressed and the children aged the intrigue, adventure, peril, romance and politics were equally terrific. We all thoroughly enjoyed this tale from start to finish!
This isn't really Children of the New Forest, it's really the eldest son's story - Edward. The two youngest daughters have little personality, and the other son, whilst at least given a personality and something to do, is not the main focus.
I enjoyed this as a child, but it hasn't kept it's charm. The end of the book seems rushed, with about 4 years crammed into a few pages. I would have been more interested to know more about Edwards time fighting.
I probably won't re-read this.
Mia Rynbrandt
If perhaps you are on page 50, or 70, or 100, you are probably asking why I gave this book five stars. Admittedly, these pages aren't as," adventurous "as modern novels, but they aren't quite boring. At page 150 or so, the story really picks up. My family read this for homeschooling, and we started to call it our "Epic Drama" once it picked up. Love? War? Adventure? Secrecy? A Fight for Existence? All here. Just, carry on, and guarantee that it won't disappoint you.
Abigailann (Abigail)

A classic children's book, yet suitable for adults as well. What I love most about this book is the real grounding you feel in the historical context. The characters and places are only described briefly, but yet it is still possible to form a real connection with them. The plot comes across simple and sometimes charming, despite the often complex situations which take place. This is definatly a book that everyone should read at least once during their lifetime.
My grandmother gave me this book when I was about 12 and I have read it over and over again. It was written in 1847 by Frederick Marryat.

The aristocratic children of a killed Cavalier officer, are believed to have died in when their house burned down by Roundhead soldiers. In reality they have escaped and are raised by a gamekeeper in his cottage in the New Forest. The story tells how they learn to survive, shoot deer, learn to farm etc.
Carsten Thomsen
A lot of action in the woods with four wonderful Beverley children trying to survive in turbulent times during the clashes between Cromwell and the King. The atmosphere reminded me of R. L. Stevensons Kidnapped - although Stevenson is a better writer. What Marryat lacks in character development he makes up in a riveting story that hold you in suspense till the last page. Will the proud Edward finally come to his senses?
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Captain Frederick Marryat was a Royal Navy officer and novelist.

For more information, please see
More about Frederick Marryat...
Mr. Midshipman Easy The Phantom Ship Peter Simple (Heart of Oak Sea Classics Series) Masterman Ready Frank Mildmay or the Naval Officer

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