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The Shuttle

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  479 ratings  ·  98 reviews
1907. Burnett, began as a novelist, but she is now best remembered for her children's books including The Secret Garden and Sara Crewe (which was later rewritten to become The Little Princess). Her romance novels were also quite popular during her lifetime. The book begins: No man knew when the Shuttle began its slow and heavy weaving from shore to shore, that it was held ...more
Paperback, 520 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1906)
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There’s a lovely passage in Frances Hodgson-Burnett’s childhood memoir – ‘The One I Knew the Best of All’ – that recalls the joy of imagining what wondrous stories might be inside the books on the highest shelf that she couldn’t quite reach.

‘The Shuttle’ is exactly the right book for that child to have written when she became a grown up author. An author who understood the magic of the story; the very special kind of magic that captures children and makes them into life-long readers. This book
...There are moments in this novel when it feels as if we have returned to the secret garden, as adults, and are allowed to step amongst the ruins of a wonderfully, dilapidated garden that is crying out for a make over.
In fact, the whole book could be read as such. Not only do we find a garden that needs a make-over, but there is an entire English village and its inmates that have been completely neglected. along with its local artistocracy, Mount Dunstan and Lady Anstruthers who are veritible
Who knew that Frances Hodgson Burnett had written books besides The Secret Garden and A Little Princess? I had never heard of The Shuttle, but after this I will certainly be trying some of her other works of fiction. The characters were drawn extremely well and leave very strong impressions. It's a story full of romance and drama, and despite what sounds like a depressing storyline (girl goes to rescue her sister from an abusive husband), there is actually quite a bit of hope and positivity in i ...more
The Shuttle could have easily gotten four stars from me. The beginning is strong, and the ending is compelling. The middle, however, gets a bit laborious with condescending vignettes in which characters from backgrounds of wealth or nobility feel ever so edified in interacting with characters from more humble backgrounds. The story could have been a bit more economically crafted.

The protagonist, Betty Vanderpoel, seems to have virtually no flaws. She's repeatedly referred to as having "genius,"
I've been working my way through best selling books from 1900s and so far this has been my favorite. Whereas women in other books I've read from this period have been weak willed or oppressed or simpering, Betty was strong minded and respected. She didn't make endless bad decisions (like Lily in House of Mirth) or require rescuing by a man (like pretty much every other book I've read in this time period). You felt the entire time that she was going to do the right things and do them well, at lea ...more
A romance novel about the interaction of Americans and Europeans in the 19th century. The heroine is a beautiful, intelligent, business-minded American daughter of a multi-millionaire. (I kept thinking Ayn Rand would LOVE her.) She travels to the rescue of her older sister, a less hardy girl who married a conniving nobleman that has used what money he could extract from her to finance his life of vice. In England, the wealthy beauty discovers that she loves the country and the ability she has to ...more
I love Frances Hodgson Burnett. When I pick up her adult novels, I worry a little that I will be disappointed, but I never am. This is a novel about the way America and England shuttle back and forth for commerce and marriage, as well as the way the shuttle of fate weaves lives. There are heiresses and a villain so awful you can't believe in him until the heroine calmly says to him, "You are behaving like the villain in a melodrama." She is Betty Vanderpoel, and she is my new best literary frien ...more
rachael gibson
Another Persephone hit!

I've long been interested in the wave of US millionaires marrying Brit aristocracy, and have read and enjoyed biographies of Vanderbilts, Catons and Randolphs - and as a dedicated Downton fan, I'm also looking forward to Fellowe's upcoming drama on the Gilded Age.

... all of which is a long winded way of saying I thoroughly.enjoyed this book. I downloaded it to read on holiday and it was a total page-turner complete with baddies, goodies and romance. If that makes it sound
My copy is from Persephone, and you just can't qo wrong with that publisher. I've loved Burnett for years, but never read an adult novel, even though one of them has been on my shelf for years. This was a classic Victorian novel, with a dastardly (and truly horrifying--a real mixture of realism and ridiculousness) villian and spunky heroine. It was a wonderful examination of American money and British class issues, set alongside a good bit of women's history. And it was a page turner. Yes, in pa ...more
A remarkable Librivox read by tabithat. It took me about a chapter to get really involved, and once I did, there was no stopping.

Of course, one might say that Rosalie was too much of a ninny, that Bettina was a tad too perfect, but never mind that, Sir Nigel was the absolute villain, and The Shuttle to me was a real page-turner.
I wholeheartedly recommend it.
The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The "shuttle" is a weaving metaphor. I'd forgotten entirely about that kind of shuttle until FHB described it clicking and clacking figuratively back and forth across the loom like a steamship or a telegraph wire between England and America, bringing saucy Americans and the staid British closer together as a recurring theme in a Frances Hodgson Burnett novel, along with gardens, a crippled child, rags to riches, twists of fortune, and obvious villains. I l ...more
I read both A Little Princess and The Secret Garden as a tween and LOVED them. This book started out better than either of those I thought. Or, maybe that's just because I'm older and I can more appreciate certain aspects of her writing. I need to re-read those two books.

Her descriptions in The Shuttle are amazingly vivid. I could see (and still can when I close my eyes) the English countryside, hear the beat of the horses hoofs and practically feel the rain! Her prose is also entertainingly inf
As the twentieth century begins, a sweet young pliable American heiress marries Sir Nigel Anstruthers, an impoverished English gentleman. To her ill-luck, he proves to be a manipulative bully, and he makes her life miserable. A dozen years later, the heiress's younger sister Betty, who has more wits and pluck than most, arrives to rescue her sister.

Betty is an intoxicating character: cool and self-possessed, smart, perceptive, unfailingly kind, and inquisitive. When she's first introduced she's
In its time, a bestseller. Sort of "Secret Garden" for grown-up readers--both Burnett books were inspired by author's restoration of an old English estate.

Slow-moving in the beginning (for many "modern" readers, anyway), but I found very interesting contrast between two daughters of American self-made millionaire--what today would at least be a billionaire: delicate older sister Rosie is typical mid-Victorian passive, petite "ideal woman"; her younger sister Bettina (wonder if that's where Maud
First of all, what a RELIEF this was to listen to after finishing 'Middlemarch'. It was like having life pumped back into me. It was like I was an English manor being revived by one Betty Vanderpoel, Reuben Vanderpoel's daughter, if you will.

Secondly, the Librivox reader for this is fantastic. It was an absolute treat to listen to.

Also, yes, Betty's perfection is a bit tedious. I wish I could find out if it were originally a serial because otherwise some of the repetition is inexcusable. We get
Jun 02, 2008 Jenn rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenn by: Susan, Tyra
Shelves: 2008books
Susan and Tyra suggested this book as a part of the Persephone collection. I enjoyed it, but I didn't really find it to be the page turner I was expecting it to be. It was a nice read with an interesting story line. The book centers around two heiresses from New York. One sister, Rosalie, marries an English duke who proceeds to make her miserable. The younger sister, Bettina, goes to England after many years to save Rosalie from her torturous husband and help her to turn her life around. The gir ...more
In the first hundred slow-moving pages of this book, I considered giving it up. I'm so glad I didn't. I devoured the last half of the book and it was certainly good reading, the increased proportion of action to words over the first half being greatly appreciated.

Roaslie Vanderpoel, daughter of a fabulously wealthy New York millionaire, marries English aristocrat Sir Nigel Anstruthers, who just wants her for her money and makes her life miserable. Twelve years later, her sister Bettina is grown
Christina Dudley
I made it to 54% and can't motivate myself to go further. While I very much enjoyed the first part of the book, about American bride Rosie Vanderpoel and her awful British husband and MIL, once the book switched to her younger sister Bettina, things started going downhill for me. Bettina is beautiful, brilliant, charming, etc, and not a single character she encounters fails to tell her so and basically fall in love with her. Ugh. The men have silly conversations with each other essentially about ...more
I absolutely loved this book. The characters were incredibly believable, and the villain in particular really rang true in his utter vileness.

Sir Nigel is manipulative, emotionally abusive, and utterly convinced that he is entitled to whatever he wants. Betty is only able to thwart him because she is smart enough to be very, very public about everything she does, and to put him in a position where he will be publicly at fault if he protests. So he responds by never letting her have a moment alon
I was looking forward to reading this after having heard good things about it on the Persephone group on Librarything. I wasn't disappointed. This is an engrossing, page turner. Frances Hodgson Burnett hightlighted the sad plight of many large houses at this time, which being entailed couldn't be sold, but whose owners where so impoverished they were unable to properly maintain them. Her love of the English countryside is obvious in her decriptions of it and the enthusiam of her American charcte ...more
Surprisingly this was a good story, even written with turn of the century flowery prose, which I normally dislike. (I do think it could have run about a third shorter in length if so many characters hadn't spoken as if they were paid by the word, but that's just me.)

I might have liked it better if Betty had been a little less perfect. Even her gazillionaire father hung breathlessly on her every observation and idea,,and as for the poor village people...well, she was an angel sent from Heaven to
Jenny Stewart
5 stars for the plot. 3 stars for the needless droning on of inner thought, family histories, unnecessary details...Betty is an amazingly mature, self-contolled young heroine. Mount Dunstan is the typical Hollywood hero: tall, muscular, handsome, prideful, honorable, hard working, introspective and a bit morose. Sir Nigel is thoroughly distasteful, inhumane, cruel, and evil. Rosalie, Betty's older sister is goodness, frailty, and femininity as is Melanie in Gone With the Wind. Overall a good sto ...more
I'm giving it four stars for the way it sometimes rambles. Minor characters get too much time on the page. But the romance and the character of Betty get 5 stars, maybe 10. You just couldn't help but love her for all her wonderful characteristics. She was the perfect foil for the villan and nothing but class. You know how you know some people and they are just class itself? They are just filled with grace and style. That is how Betty would have been. I do think you can learn how to be classy but ...more
Brenda Clough
In many ways an appealing novel. Modern readers will enjoy the romantic plot and the superbly competent heroine. Betty, endowed by the author with every possible advantage you can imagine, invades Britain the way Sherman went through Georgia. Everyone surrenders without a fight except her evil brother-in-law, who inevitably comes to a bad end.
Alas, all the discussions about the difference between Brits and Americans, and all the analysis of the importance of transatlantic relationships, are very
Jun 04, 2009 Susann rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Susann by: Melissa P. and Betsy Ray
Shelves: persephone
I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would. Although I love Burnett's kidlit, I have less patience for the melodrama and black-and-white characters in her adult books. One is always either the villianest of villians, sweet-but-weak, or spirited and good.

That said, this is the page-turner that everyone says it is. It's also filled with thoughtful comparisons of English and American culture, explanations of American slang, and an all grown-up and Americanized version of Sara Crewe. As she tri
Burnett always knows how to weave a plot and make you want to keep reading to find out what happens, and this book is no exception. You absolutely have to keep on in order to find out what will happen to poor Rosy Vanderpoel - will her sister Betty be able to rescue her from the clutches of the evil Sir Nigel? If this sounds melodramatic, it definitely is, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. What I did find in this book more than in some of her other titles is that there were long stretches ...more
At the beginning of this year, I saw this title on a "best of" list put out by Fiction_L. Fiction_L is a listserve of wonderful librarians who help each other out with Readers' Advisory questions. At the end of each year they ask for folks to respond with their best reads of that year. The Shuttle was mentioned.

I had no idea that Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote any books aimed at adults. That was one of the reasons I was intrigued. The other reason was that my hobby (besides reading) is handweavin
Frances Hodgson Burnett, she of the classic children's books "A Little Princess" and "The Secret Garden," was a well-known novelist of her time; her adult novels were bestsellers. They are mostly out of print now (this one is), and I think that is a shame. They are not nearly as well-written as her children's novels, but they offer fascinating snapshots of race, gender, and class structures of their time. My current favorite is "The Shuttle," which is an examination of the time period in which s ...more
It seemed like many different books in one - part history, part birth of a nation, part romance, part misery, part innocent abroad, part always get an Englishman to play the villian, part 'Katie' takes charge, part Gothic, part Viva Mrs Radcliffe. Apparently, it took many years to write so perhaps that explains a lot. Its very like an oil tanker you know, once set on one course it takes a week to turn around. Having said that there is some good writing in here. And, I must confess the 'akin to M ...more
Margaret Sullivan
Another terrific read from Frances Hodgson Burnett. It's a wonderful and dramatic story. I think fans of Downton Abbey would find it interesting, as it's sort of the dark side of the rich American girl marrying the titled Englishman.

Rose Vanderpoel, the eldest daughter of an extremely rich New York businessman, marries and gets a title, but her loving family is astonished when she seems to cut off all contact with them. Her younger sister, Betty, who never liked or trusted her brother-in-law, g
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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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“Their eyes met with a singular directness of gaze. Between them a spark passed which was not afterwards to be extinguished, though neither of them knew the moment of its kindling...” 12 likes
“It was a mere matter of seeing common things together and exchanging common speech concerning them, but each was so strongly conscious of the other that no sentence could seem wholly impersonal. There are times when the whole world is personal to a mood whose intensity seems a reason for all things. Words are of small moment when the mere sound of a voice makes an unreasonable joy.” 6 likes
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