Susann's Reviews > The Shuttle

The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett
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's review
Jun 04, 09

bookshelves: persephone
Recommended to Susann by: Melissa P. and Betsy Ray
Read in June, 2009, read count: 1

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 tries to rescue her weak sister from an abusive marriage, Bettina Vanderpoel is 'up against' (that's American slang, I just learned) some major challenges, but she's as brave, capable, and imaginative as Sara C. is.

My favorite scenes involve the restoration of the English estate and the smoldering looks between Bettina and her love interest. His voice is gruff; hers is mellow and velvet. And they just can't stop looking at one another. You don't find that in A LITTLE PRINCESS.

I also like that one man "unbosomed" himself as he shared his plight with Bettina. There's an expression that I wish people would use more often.

Two more favorite passages:
'That is American,' she said, 'the habit of comparing every stick and stone and breathing thing to some literary parallel. We almost invariably say that things remind us of pictures or books - most usually books. It seems a little crude, but perhaps it means that we are an intensely literary and artistic people.'

There is the Atlantic cable, you know. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why heroines have changed. When they could not escape from their persecutors except in a stage-coach, and could not send telegrams, they were more or less in everyone's hands. It is different now.

Betsy reads this book aloud to Carney in BETSY WAS A JUNIOR by Maud Hart Lovelace.

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Reading Progress

06/02/2009 page 292
61.34% "There's an American character who keeps saying "Hully gee!" (His name is not Tom Slade.)"

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Melissa Glad you liked it! It's one of those books that isn't great, but is really enjoyable.
I'm still in the midst of Mariana. . .

Susann Despite the melodrama, there was a lot of food for thought there. I'm really glad I read it.
Take your time with Mariana.

Melissa It was especially fun to read with Alva and Consuelo, about the Vanderbilts and the whole joining money and nobility thing. Supposedly, Burnett did base The Shuttle a bit on Consuelo Vanderbilt.

Rachel Maud Hart Lovelace connection - no way! :)

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