Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ramona” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,899 ratings  ·  273 reviews
One of the greatest ethical novels of the nineteenth century, this is a tale of true love tested. Set in Old California, this powerful narrative richly depicts the life of the fading Spanish order, the oppression of tribal American communities and inevitably, the brutal intrusion of white settlers. Ramona, an illegitimate orphan, grows up as the ward of the overbearing Sen ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published July 1st 2002 by Signet (first published 1884)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

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

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,899 ratings  ·  273 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Ramona
Aug 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Go with me on this.

It’s the year 2060. We have our flying cars, vat-grown replacement organs and Kim Kardashian’s Skanky Grannies reality TV – but you know what we don’t have? Anybody that remembers The Great Gatsby. Not the book, not the movies – nothing. That seems like an almost impossibility, right? Having finished Ramona, and then reading about the success of this novel and its almost complete obscurity in 2014, I’m not so sure.

This is a romance novel, no doubt about it – my first foray int
Feb 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As many of you know, one of my hobbies is to read books that were once popular but have now fallen into obscurity, trying to understand the past through what excited people at the time.

Ramona, a book that has appeared in more than 300 editions since it was first published, was made into a movie four times, and inspired an entire tourist industry in the late 19th and early 20th century, is surely such a book. I've had a copy for years, one belonging to my father-in-law, and it's long been on my t
Jun 04, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Helen Hunt Jackson wrote Ramona to draw people's attention to the injustice being done to the Indians living in California. She was friends with Harriet Beecher Stowe and hoped that her story would have the same impact on the nation that Uncle Tom's Cabin had in the 1850's.

Boy was she wrong. Dead wrong. Instead of awakening the rest of America to the plight of the Indians of Southern California people received it as a romance novel. The nation was gripped with Ramona fever and California took n
First published in 1884, and first read in 1885 by women in my family, there has always been a copy available to me. I've read this book many, many times, and it still hits my heart.

Helen Hunt Jackson was one of the very first to point a big shaming finger at the White Man when it came to all indigenous cultures on the America continent. In this book she is specifically concerned with the native tribes and cultures already settled (Mexican mostly) throughout what would become the southwestern U
Feb 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Ramona is an American novel written by Helen Hunt Jackson in 1884. Who is Helen Hunt Jackson? Well, it's good you waited until now to ask, a few days ago I would have had no idea. Now I do. Helen Hunt Jackson was a writer who became an activist on behalf of Native Americans and how they were treated by the United States government. If they were treated anything like what she wrote in the novel, our government was horrible to these people.

Way back when Jackson was a little girl she attended the
Jan 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
This wasn't at all what I expected! I'd always had a vague sense that Ramona was ridiculously rosy picture of "romantic Olde California" full of caballeros and things, but as it turns out it was intended as a propaganda novel about the rotten treatment of Californian Indians and Mexican landholders after the U.S. acquired California. Of course, everyone back East read it as the former, hence the Ramona pageant and an influx of Ramona tourism that accomplished the opposite of what Jackson hoped f ...more
Austen to Zafón
Jun 06, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, classic
As three stars indicates, I liked this book. Actually, I wish I could give it 3.5. I'm glad I read it, but I don't think I could do it again as it was so sad. I can't believe I'd never heard of it before, especially since I was a born and raised until I was 12 in San Diego. I guess in grade school, they don't begin yet to touch on the injustices done to the Native Americans and even to the Mexicans. We were still just learning what a mission was and some Spanish words. But I was in SD this sprin ...more
Mar 16, 2010 rated it liked it
There's a backstory here! While reading Passing Strange, I found a reference to Ramona (the novel shares the theme of interracial love). I couldn't help but be curious when I saw the author's name. Helen Hunt Jackson was my grandmother's maiden name. As she was born in 1889, not too long after Ramona became a popular sensation, I thought it impossible that her newspaper-publishing father (Andrew Jackson, my great-grandfather) could not have known about Jackson when he named his eldest daughter. ...more
Jul 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had a hard time with this book. The political issues overpowered character development and plot which made the whole book slow and a little boring.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
What a great book! I'm so glad I chose it for my book discussion group. Written in 1884, this historical novel, set in southern California in the early part of the 19th century, is a doomed love story as well as propaganda about the terrible treatment of the Native Americans by the Americans who moved in after the Mexican War. Land granted to both Native Americans and Mexicans by the Mexican government were declared no longer valid, and the new American government sold off peoples' lands without ...more
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first heard about Ramona from an old friend (94) who loved the story and wanted me to read it. I should have done so, but I was swamped with work projects. When she passed away, I inherited her books, and this title moved to my shelves. One day I read the first few pages, but it reminded me of a Zane Grey book that I had just plowed through. I promptly gave up and donated the book (an ex-library book).

Well, I recently came across this old book and decided to give it another try. It's not "just
1.5 stars.


(view spoiler)
Dec 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I was named for this romance novel that was made into a movie a long time ago. It is a great story of the hardships of the Indians and Mexicans during the time that California was transitioning from mission districts under Mexican rule and admittance into the United states. A great love story but a bit tragic.
Linda Martin
Ramona was born to a Native American woman in Southern California. Her father was from Scotland. He took the infant girl from her mother and gave her to his ex-girlfriend, a Californio (Hispanic) woman of considerable wealth. Unfortunately that woman died and her husband didn't want the child, so she was passed on to Señora Moreno, a widowed woman with a large estate and a son.

The Moreno ranch needed sheep shearers and that is how a tribe of Native Americans came to live there temporarily, for
Sep 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010-books
Ramona started out well and pulled me in; it looked like it was going to win at least four stars, if not five. I was impressed with the characters, the beautiful descriptions of California, and the sweet love story that was developing. I feel like the story started to go downhill from the middle. As Ramona goes through one hardship after another you wonder if it will ever stop and it doesn't.

Also in the interest of playing up the plight of the American Indians in the late 18th century, Helen Hu
Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma
There are books we read because they are difficult to understand. This is what happened to this book. When we finish we feel relieved because we didn't give up. Case in point, Ramona. The books may be so boring, like this one here, yet we still fight on.

Ramona, is a novel about love. The couple are indians living in America. Ramona and Alessandro. They meet in Ramona's foster home where she lives with Senora Monero, Felipe, Margaritta, Marda, Juan Can, and other servants. She is happy with ever
Katie Wahlquist
Sep 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
What can I say? I just re-read this book for my book club and I think I loved it even more this time around. I am totally in love with Alessandro!
Dec 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful 19th century romance about a young woman who marries against the wishes of her step-mother, wanders through the mountains and valleys with her husband, and is, at long last, reunited with a life that might offer some semblance of comfort and joy.

Her husband was wonderful; however, he was an "Indian" in Southern California, where such people were both respected and held in contempt...often by the same people. The book takes place after the Americans have invaded California and
Nov 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
By: Helen Hunt Jackson

With a bit of tragedy, history and love, it tried to make this book interesting; but it was not . The story of Ramona is set in Spanish California and the beginning of American California. Ramona is caught up in the tangle of races found in Southern California - Mexican, Spanish, Indian and American, and for me, this book failed to draw me a picture.

It's an old fashioned love story, a bit slow in parts, but with a noble and pure hero and heroine. Indian Alessandro an
Apr 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
I was assigned to read this for my American Lit class. The class is structured around the topic of the Wild West, and Westerns apparently developed as a response to something called domestic fiction. What is domestic fiction, you might ask. Well, imagine a bunch of self-righteous middle class women seeking to reform society through tales of disadvantaged young heroines who triumph over adversity through virtue, piety, and kindness. Are you nauseous yet? Now add some saccharine-sweet sentimentali ...more
Feb 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a heartbreaking and yet uplifting tale of a young woman named Ramona. Through life's ups and downs Ramona experiences despair, love, passion, freedom, frustration and loss. It is truly a masterpiece. Although my heart was crushed into tiny slobbery bits, this book still left me happy. Maybe it was the epic tale, the brilliant writing, the beautiful descriptions. Or perhaps it was Ramona herself. She is one of those unforgettable characters who will stay with you always. Like Jane Eyre or ...more
Oct 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
I loved it. A beautiful but tragic romance between two lovers (one a half-breed, the other a Native American) during the time American settlers took over California displacing the Native Americans, Mexicans, and Spanish landowners who had been living there.
Helen Hunt Jackson really paints a vivid picture of what life was like during those times in California and the horrors of being cast of one's land using cruel and injustice tactics.

I can understand why Alessandro withers away from the man he
Dec 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: usa-california
This book is on a fascinating range of lists - the first California love story, the book that gave Southern California an identity, the "Anne of Green Gables" of So. Cal., one of the most popular books ever written (and then forgotten), the official state play of California, etc.

It's interesting. Definitely not a work of art, but as a historical time capsule and literary work, worth reading.
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-book-group
Some of the dialogue seems very stereotypical, and I can see why the message about the plight of the Indians in California might have been lost on some, but much of Hunt's story retains it's original power, and it reads easily 130 years later. ...more
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Grad school penance. Was supposed to read it back then. Long read, longer than its page count, but worth it. Especially if you've spent any time down around Santa Barbara and Ventura. ...more
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this as a California schoolgirl. I’m very glad that I reread this as an adult. The story had remained with me, but I now better appreciate the late-Victorian era style of writing itself. It’s a flowery discursive style, with insights into the human psyche and condition. Villains, victims, and heroes are clearly defined by speech and actions. Think of Dickens, and you’ll get my meaning.

Helen Jackson (raised a Unitarian) had been an activist against the brutal treatment of Indians by
Dec 31, 2018 rated it liked it
I have wanted to read this book for a long time, simply because it had so much influence on how Americans saw California.

The descriptions of the climate, geography, and people of Southern California do make the place and people very distinctive. Jackson's take on how Americans treated California Indians, Mexicans, and Catholics was very progressive at the time. Now it feels painfully dated. Another character that feels dated (and forced) is the character of Aunt Ri, from Tennessee, with her dial
Sarah R
Jan 12, 2019 rated it liked it
To my modern mind, RAMONA is what happens when a wealthy white liberal lady of leisure suddenly decides to take up a pet cause and does so after only half-finishing her research.

I don't doubt Jackson's feelings were sincere, and she did have an ample platform from which she could signal boost the sufferings of Native Americans, so for doing that she does deserve a lot of credit. But the book she wrote to highlight the plight of those pushed aside by Manifest Destiny is full of unrealistically pe
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent story of Old California - the struggles of the Indians against the Mexicans and the "Americans" as the Indians are forced out of their villages and ways of life by the incursion of those who seek to profit from the land. The book was written in the 1880s; the author's writing style reflects the times and was interesting to read.

I picked this book up at the recommendation of my daughter after we hiked around Helen Hunt Falls outside Colorado Springs.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
500 Great Books B...: Ramona - Helen Hunt Jackson 2 34 Dec 17, 2014 12:33PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Tropic of Orange
  • How the Other Half Lives
  • The Marrow of Tradition
  • Reservation Blues
  • The Garden Party
  • My Ántonia (Great Plains Trilogy, #3)
  • Ragged Dick (Ragged Dick, #1)
  • Maggie: A Girl of the Streets and Other Tales of New York
  • The Will of Magda Townsend
  • Walking with Ghosts
  • McTeague
  • Captive Paradise: The Story of the United States and Hawaii
  • Delights and Shadows
  • Without Fear or Favor
  • Overcomer
  • Love's Labour's Lost
  • The Vagina Bible: The Vulva and the Vagina—Separating the Myth from the Medicine
  • Pile of Bones (The Legends of the First Empire #0.5)
See similar books…
Helen Maria Hunt Jackson was an American writer best known as the author of Ramona, a novel about the ill treatment of Native Americans in Southern California, and as an activist for Native American rights

News & Interviews

  Listen up, because our colleagues here at Goodreads have some excellent audiobook recommendations for you! Of course, the books they've...
22 likes · 15 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“We have flattered ourselves by inventing proverbs of comparison in matter of blindness,--"blind as a bat," for instance. It would be safe to say that there cannot be found in the animal kingdom a bat, or any other creature, so blind in its own range of circumstance and connection, as the greater majority of human beings are in the bosoms of their families. Tempers strain and recover, hearts break and heal, strength falters, fails, and comes near to giving way altogether, every day, without being noted by the closest lookers-on.” 10 likes
“Next time!" In what calendar are kept the records of those next times which never come?” 9 likes
More quotes…