Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Cordelia Underwood: Or, the Marvelous Beginnings of the Moosepath League” as Want to Read:
Cordelia Underwood: Or, the Marvelous Beginnings of the Moosepath League
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Cordelia Underwood: Or, the Marvelous Beginnings of the Moosepath League

(The Moosepath League #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  734 ratings  ·  136 reviews
In the idyllic summer of 1896 in Portland, Maine, several people are embarking on adventures of a most audacious and entertaining nature. The lovely Cordelia Underwood unexpectedly inherits a large parcel of land, and discovers that it holds an irresistible secret; it is her newfound friend, Tobias Walton -- a man of a certain age and Pickwickian characteristics -- who wil ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published January 14th 2008 by Penguin Books (first published 1998)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Cordelia Underwood, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Cordelia Underwood

The Cider House Rules by John IrvingEmpire Falls by Richard Russo'Salem's Lot by Stephen KingCarrie by Stephen KingThe Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett
Books Set in Maine
321 books — 129 voters
The Cider House Rules by John IrvingUncharted by J.B. ChicoineExplorer's Guide to Wildlife Adventures by J.Z. HuntIt by Stephen KingOn Writing by Stephen King
58 books — 37 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  734 ratings  ·  136 reviews

More filters
Sort order
I loved this book, but sadly I would be hesitant to recommend it to anyone, unless I really knew what type of book that they liked, because, as Abraham Lincoln (I believe it was him) so aptly put it, "this is a very good book for people who like this sort of book." What sort of book was it? Well, it takes place during the Victorian era in Maine over less than a week's time period, and is written in a sprawling and rambling Dickensian style. In fact, it was so convincingly Dickensian that I was a ...more
Aug 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
The cover design for this series does the author no favors. What lurks beneath this generic, vaguely chick-lit-y, vaguely historical cover is a rollicking adventure with terrific characters, gentle humor and various deeds of derring-do. This is the first of Reid's Moosepath books, and an entertaining introduction to the wonders of small-town life in turn of the century Maine. If you can read this and not come away from it with a bit of a crush on Reid's quirky cast, you're a better person than I ...more
Susan Roy
Nov 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
In the back of the book is a blurb about the author, Van Reid, which simply states that he has been the assistant manager of a book store for the past seven years and did not attend college. This must be an example of great modesty, because this book is nothing short of a work of genius. After reading 'Cordelia Underwood' I would have thought that Mr. Reid would surely have various degrees and titles to his name, the least of which would have been Professor of Literature at some prestigious coll ...more
Jan 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Oh my word. This book gives new meaning to "leisurely." I read it aloud to my kids, and my son, who is a connoisseur of the quirky, is convinced that the author meant all the elaborate descriptions of sunlight dappling the gently shifting leaves of the birch, oaks, elms, etc., etc. as a hugely extended Joke. Maybe he's right. Anyway, there Are some amusing scenes in the book, and some of the characters are charming, but there are also vast expanses of excessively detailed description. Nothing ac ...more
In July 1896, 23 year-old Cordelia Underwood is bored. Most ladies her age are married or have a suitable position, but Cordelia is content to remain at home in Portland, Maine, except when there's nothing to do. Then a messenger comes, bringing a report of her Uncle Basil's death and the shocking news that Basil left Cordelia a parcel of land! She can barely remember her uncle, he was at sea all of her life and rarely came to visit. Why leave the land to Cordelia and not her brothers? She's ple ...more
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Cordelia Underwood: Or, the Marvelous Beginnings of the Moosepath League by Van Reid

From The Book:
Step back in time to Portland, Maine, in 1896. When the young, beautiful, redheaded Cordelia Underwood inherits a parcel of land from her seafaring uncle, it sets in motion a chain of events that leads to the unearthing of a family secret two centuries old. Cordelia soon crosses paths with Mister Tobias Walton and finds herself aided in her quest by the warmhearted gentleman, who has never hea
Mar 13, 2013 marked it as did-not-finish
It's very rare that I don't finish a book, and even rarer that I give it up because I just lost interest. For the first few pages of Cordelia Underwood I thought I was going to love it—I liked the old-fashioned writing style and was fairly amused by the humor. But after chapter after chapter of brief clipped dialogue and introductions of yet another eccentric character for not much apparent reason, I found I just didn't really care any more about what happened next. It's a bit like New England D ...more
Rachel Rogers
Aug 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lovely, lighthearted romp through late 19th Century Maine. Since I love the history of the 19th Century and love Maine, plus like reading about pleasant people this was a sure-fire hit for me. Have read everything Reid has written since and really enjoyed all of them.
Jan 05, 2019 rated it liked it
rating: 3.5
July 1896
Maine: Portland to Bangor to Millinocket to Mt Katahdin (almost)

This book fits into a category all of its own. History, humor, adventure, tall tale, and a little romance all mixed together with a plethora of characters and a splash of melodrama. The humor is described as 'hilarious,' which is a word that always makes me wary, especially when it has the flare of melodrama, along with three bumblers who are only a little better than the three stooges. After I realized how the s
Oct 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
The book started off promisingly with the plot, but then moseyed all around without getting to the interesting part of the plot. After a 150 pages, I became angry at myself and decided to budget my limited reading time for something else.
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This is a delicious story! I am hooked! The Moosepath League is entertaining and endearing. I've ordered all the books! There are 6 in the series, written from 1999-2012.

This whole story takes place in just 12 days. Cordelia Underwood and Tobias Walton meet at the wharf in Portland Maine. Subsequently, Mister Walton meets Eagleton, Ephram and Thump - 3 unusual gentlemen starting a new club. The story then breaks off into 3 running story-lines. We find out how Tobias becomes involved with the Mo
Bob Nolin
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
My goodness, this was a pleasant book. The main characters were all exceedingly kind, polite, and considerate, I must say. In fact, for the first three hundred pages, there was hardly a conflict in sight, due to the overwhelming pleasantness of the story. No one seems to have a job (which might be unpleasant, I suppose), and days are spent pleasantly conversing, visiting, strolling, and exclaiming "My goodness!" and "Good heavens!" Finally, around page 301, the author decides (rather suddenly, a ...more
Darlene Dickson
Jan 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
READ IT....for the love of words!! This author, Van Reid, takes words and like honey dripping from a spoon, he wraps a sweet thread around and around till you are hooked!! It was just a tad slow to start as he introduces all it's unique and lovely characters, but soon you'll find yourself thinking "what's the hurry to see where this is going?", and just enjoy the journey. Goodreads review sums it up perfectly..."Superbly written, with a vivid sense of place and period, this is a book for any day ...more
Sep 28, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: novel
This was a pretty good 400-plus page book that would have been a good 300-page book. Although the author is contemporary, the book is set at the end of the nineteenth century, and the style of writing reflects this. (It has a Prairie Home Companion, folksy feel - this is not a compliment!) The chapters were originally published in serial form, and it reads that way - the author describes the style as "digressive," which it definitely is. I would have been happy to skip all of the digressions, bu ...more
Staci Gray
Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I'm also surprised that I did. The writing is very different from what I usually enjoy reading, but the author was able to transport me to a different time and different place. For me, It's rare to find a book that doesn't have some predictability. With this book, I never guessed how this story eventually played out.
Feb 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book made me look crazy while reading it, as I kept laughing out loud. Love Van Reid's style of writing and the time period as well, plus it doesnt hurt that most of it is based in Maine, so very easy to picture the places in the stories...cannot get enough of Van Reid.
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
Spent two weeks on the first hundred pages, this book isn't for me right now. The story moves way too slowly.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There is an obvious debt to Dickens and The Pickwick Papers in this book - it is even made the favourite book of the heroine and her dead uncle. The central character is called something else but it obviously supposed to resemble Mr Pickwick. We get a Sam Weller figure called Sundry Moss and three characters who form the gentlemen's club they don't name the Moosepath League until about three-quarters of the way through the book. Cordelia Underwood knows these people socially but their stories do ...more
Gayle Warren
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this adventure! It's characters are lovable, endearing (perhaps a bit predictable but wonderful) and witty and it's not overdone with adventure or violence, which gives us a bit of a breather. We can read a well-written story without having to endure such modern hyperbole. Van Reid writes a beautiful prose, including simple poetry, which adds to the pastoral nature of the book. However, this story isn't the typical 19th century "everyone lives happily ever after" tale; it does have meat, ...more
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm couldn't tell you what this book is really about.
I could tell you what happens, and where the subplots converge.
It was like a meandering walk through a delightful garden.
You are told to expect a garden statue, but by the time you spot
it, you have forgotten you were looking for it.
One thing it does answer is the cliche question.
When you "conveniently" meet up with the fellow
protagonists in the story.
"How did you get here?"
They have shown you EXACTLY what everyone has been doing.
Every. Hilari
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
A gentle and wonderful series of intertwined adventures with lovely and improbable characters. It starts slow and progresses in deliberate fashion. At first I thought it was too slow for my taste but the story and the people soon won me over. Only a grouch could not be charmed.
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
It took me a while to get into the swing of this book, but then I really enjoyed it. Great descriptions, and it truly felt Victorian in many ways. Lovely descriptions of scenery, seasons, etc. It made me want to go to Maine. Also made me want to read the next two books in the series.
Oct 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Loved the writing style: Dickens like, humorous, great side stories, innocent. There are six in the series thus far. Can't wait to read more.
Ruth Kevghas
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
It started out slow, but very enjoyable, love the little stories within stories and about a third of the way; I was hooked! Definitely a highlight of my summer reading!
Carol Newey
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is my second time reading Cordelia Underwood. I laughed just as much as I did the first time. This is a book I will treasure forever and return to again and again.
Jamie (ReadsinTrees) Dacyczyn
3.75 stars. 2015 Reading Challenge: A Book Set in Your Hometown....(not exactly my hometown, but a lot of the book takes place in Damariscotta, a place I have actually lived).

I actually enjoyed this book quite a bit. It had a fairly old fashioned tone that perfectly complimented the Victorian setting (despite being written in the late 1990's), yet it also had a good deal of wry humor. It reminded me a lot of "Three Men In a Boat; To Say Nothing of the Dog" by Jerome Jerome, and this one even had
Jan 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is truly a marvelous book, as the title implies. It has a lot of things to love - mystery, suspense, romance, humor, wit, adventure, friendship, and wonderful (and many) characters. The setting is Victorian Maine and the main characters include Cordelia Underwood, a young woman left with a piece of land from her late sea-fairing Uncle Basil, along with a clue that may lead to buried treasure. Then there is Tobias Walton, a “portly” middle-aged well-off gentleman who comes back to Maine to s ...more
I just re-read this book for the second or third time, and I've enjoyed it more each time I've read it. (The series, in fact, is on my wish list. I don't want to own every book I read, so the fact that this title qualifies tells you something.)

Set in the last 1890s in Maine, "Cordelia Underwood" (and, in fact, all of the Moosepath League novels) have it all: mystery, romance, adventure, humor--

I think it's the humor I love most of all. Sometimes it's simply the joy that the characters find in li
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
It took me quite a while to get into this book. OK, it took me several YEARS to get into it. But one night, perhaps because I was in the right frame of mind, I entered the marvelous world of Maine at the end of the 19th century and the leisurely narrative with intertwined plot lines, dry humor and something that can only be described as authenticity. It was hard to believe it was not written in the 1890s. Not once the author brings any “modern” attitudes in describing characters or their actions ...more
Melanie Griffin
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Delightful romp. A rollicking time. Splendid -- a good, old-fashioned read. These phrases come to mind when trying to describe Cordelia Underwood. The book was written in the 1990s, but it brings to mind novels from the time period it covers, the late 1890s. Marvelous characters, ridiculous situations, laugh out loud funny at times. Van Reid clearly loves and knows Maine, and he crams an amazing number of strange and haunting tales from the state's history into his book.

His characters are 100% M
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Foolscap: Or, The Stages of Love
  • Sunlight on the Lawn
  • Bachelor Brothers' Bed & Breakfast
  • The Provincial Lady in London
  • Under the Harrow
  • A Man Called Outlaw
  • Doctor Dolittle and the Secret Lake (Doctor Dolittle, #10)
  • Go Saddle the Sea (Felix Brooke, #1)
  • In the Memory of the Forest
  • Fresh from the Country
  • Mrs. Tim Carries On
  • Unnatural Fire (Countess Ashby de La Zouche, #1)
  • Not All Tarts Are Apple
  • Gentian Hill
  • Intrusions
  • An Imaginative Experience
  • The Benson Murder Case (A Philo Vance Mystery #1)
  • Poor Mrs. Rigsby
See similar books…

Other books in the series

The Moosepath League (6 books)
  • Mollie Peer: or, The Underground Adventure of the Moosepath League
  • Daniel Plainway: Or the Holiday Haunting of the Moosepath League
  • Mrs. Roberto: Or the Widowy Worries of the Moosepath League
  • Fiddler's Green: Or a Wedding, a Ball, and the Singular Adventures of Sundry Moss (Moosepath League, Book 5)
  • Moss Farm Or The Mysterious Missives of the Moosepath League
“He's been given the boot!' Lofton insisted, directing his anger now at Mister Walton. 'And I think it wise not to interfere!'
'I don't like to benefit from another's misfortune,' said Mister Walton with a straight face, and never losing his peaceful demeanor. ' But the hotel's loss, in this case, is my gain, I fear.'
'Mr. Hubbard will be gravely offended!' said Lofton darkly.
'I can't imagine it,' quipped the bespectacled fellow. 'Only small people are easily offended.'
Lofton, who until now had done his best to appear offended, found himself at a loss for a response.”
“Now, it is a verifiable actuality that any two men can talk politely and even become friends, given the chance; but put them in different uniforms, or train them in the use of different tools or philosophies or shaving soap, and you will have two men who are sure that the other lives primarily to contradict him. I did know a fellow once who insisted that reasonable men can disagree, but somebody knocked him cold with a cast-iron frying pan just then and I never did hear the remainder of his hypothesis.” 1 likes
More quotes…