Heather's Reviews > The Shuttle

The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett
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's review
Feb 10, 2011

it was ok
Read from November 12, 2010 to February 10, 2011

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 informative. I kept picking up neat little clues she dropped about the differences between English and American cultures at that time and also the differences between then and now. For instance, in one scene, when a glimpse is caught of the millionaire's daughter they know she is well-off because of the excellent fit of her clothes. She does betray her strong love for and belief in the superiority of English country, customs and manners in more than a few places.

All of her characters felt real in my head. I shared Betty's fierce anger at Nigel, I shared Rosalie's hopelessness, I feel like I've made new friends and we've fought against a common enemy. There was one character, a traveling typewriter salesman, I liked a 'specially lot. His honest sharing of the difficulties living on "ten per" yet never complaining, simply doing it because that's what he does is something to relate to.

All this kept me turning pages until I neared the climax. Perhaps it was just that the character's troubles became more foreign to mine, perhaps is was the thought-speaking stuff, or perhaps it was just because G. Selden took his typewriters back to America, but at any rate, I lost most of my interest at about 400 pages.

In her other books that I have read there is a bit of superstition. That comes across much more strongly in this book. Especially near the end. A main character relies heavily on some sort of thought communication over wide distances and with the dead.

The ending was a disappointment. The retribution delivered to the villain is richly deserved but felt harsh and even vulgar. I have never hated a bad guy with more loathing, but this was too much, even for him.
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