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Early Candlelight

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  168 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
This historical novel set at Old Fort Snelling in the 1830s is a rich and romantic re-creation of the early settlement period in Minnesota's history. Maud Hart Lovelace's careful research into the documents of the Minnesota Historical Society, combined with her knowledge of the actual setting, enabled her to write a story that conveys a sense of time and place both accurat ...more
Paperback, 342 pages
Published August 15th 1992 by Minnesota Historical Society Press (first published 1929)
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Kaitlin Marie-Brown Salter
I worked at Fort Snelling... This book is terrible due to it's horrible historical inaccuracies and the fact that it is one of the dullest books I have ever picked up. Do not bother.
Christina Dudley
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! Historical fiction set in and around Minnesota's Fort Snelling in the 1820s. Lively characters, compelling storylines, history worked in without beating the reader over the head, and a satisfying romance. Works for me.

I've been rereading Lovelace's children's books (also 5-star caliber), prior to visiting MN, so I'm delighted and not surprised to discover she can spin a wonderful adult novel as well.

If you liked Mrs. Mike, you'll probably enjoy Early Candlelight!

(Note: if you
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such a pure, beautiful story. Maud Hart Lovelace has a gift for painting with words. She can capture the essence of a moment with incredible simplicity and bring the reader into the world of the character with deceptively effortless prose.

I grew up reading the Betsy-Tacy books. Early Candlelight is different - it seemed to me to be a bit more focused on the actual historical events surrounding Fort Snelling. I had trouble getting into the book at first and was confused by the many characters, bu
Bryan Ericson
This was a clever story, set against the backdrop of 1830s Minnesota. I enjoyed the story, the flowery prose was a bit hard to follow at times.
Oct 17, 2010 rated it liked it
My adoration of Maud Hart Lovelace began late in life…as in a year ago when I discovered her juvenile writings (The Betsy-Tacy Series) through numerous book blogs. Our mother daughter book club devoured her first four books in rapid fashion.
After such an introduction, I’ve been eager to explore her other writings. Before Christmas I purchased her recently re-released copies of Carney’s House Party and Winona’s Pony Cart, Emily of Deep Valley, and Early Candlelight.
I’ve been keen on reading nost
Sep 22, 2009 rated it liked it
I do agree that this started slowly, and it took me a bit of time to figure out who the important characters were going to be. Once it got going, though, I did enjoy it quite a lot. I came to like the character of Delia very much and I thought MHL was able, by the end of the book, to really get inside her and describe her emotions very well. Some of the other characters were less well developed and I have to say that I didn't find Jasper Page all that wonderful, but at least he appreciated Delia ...more
Jul 12, 2015 rated it liked it
I don't believe Maud Hart Lovelace's Early Candlelight could be published today. It was better than her first book, but not as good as the books she later wrote for children. The story was good, even if a bit confusing, and I found myself relating to a major character. I had to go back and reread the first chapter when I was about haIf way through the book to clarify who some others were. I was bothered by all the warpaint and "braves" and "squaws" language. I'm sure she didn't intend to sound r ...more
Dec 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is one where I really wish we could do half stars, as I'd have preferred to give it 3.5. Once I got about 25 pages into the book, it really took off for me, and I was very much drawn in. It especially grabbed me as we headed to the end of Book I and into Book II. But then... then came the ending, and I found it just anticlimactic. SPOILER ALERT!! I think I read in someone else's review [Melissa's, perhaps?:] that we didn't NEED to see how the relationship betw Jasper Page and Dee actually c ...more
Sep 03, 2009 rated it liked it
I'm glad I read this, but I don't see myself ever re-reading it. The beginning was a little slow and Narcisse gave me a pain. Or maybe I should say that the DuGays' reaction to Narcisse gave me a pain. I'm glad that they could support him through his bipolar episodes, but couldn't one of them lose their temper with him just once?

I enjoyed the romantic scenes and wouldn't mind spending a winter with Jasper, but thought the proposal scene was a little too cute. It reminded me of Maud's early shor
Mar 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
I didn't find the author of the Betsy-Tacy books here except for occasional glimpses in descriptive passages. The writing was choppy and difficult to read, as if she was trying to hard to impress the reader with her skill as a writer. I struggled to follow her and if it was any other author but MHL I would not have bothered to finish the book. The character names were atrocious and I grudgingly accept it's because they are real names, but it made it awkward. Names like those take more than a few ...more
Sep 14, 2009 rated it liked it
Despite my love of history, I've never been one for sweeping, old-school historical romances. But the Maud connection put it on my to-read list.
Glad the focus was more on the people surrounding Fort Snelling than Fort life itself, and having visited Fort Snelling last summer, I was able to picture the landscape. None of the characters really captured by attention, but something pulled me along.
Definitely not one of the better of the genre--and it really paled in comparison to All This and Heaven
Feb 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books ever. It would make a great movie: visually stunning scenery, many attractive young men and young women in love and a female protaganist an audience can't help but adore. It is "Pride and Prejudice" meets "Last of the Mohicans" with enough rich historical details woven into it to make you feel like your are really learning something. I also love this book because it is written by one of my favorite authors, Maude Hart Lovelace. This book made me proud of my Ameri ...more
Linda Hayakawa
Dec 30, 2010 rated it liked it
This is a completely different story from Lovelace's usual offerings. It's historical fiction set at Old Fort Snelling in Minnesota in the 1830s. Originally written in 1929, the feel is different from modern day hist. fict. - a bit more romantic and innocent perhaps. But it is a vivid and compelling portrayal of life on the river - French fur traders, Native Americans, danger and uncertainty in a beautiful, wild, land. I recommend it to anyone interested in this time period in the United States.
May 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
I finished it! Technically this is a re-read, but I did not remember much at all, except that I liked it much better this time. Historical fiction about the early days of frontier Minnesota, Fort Snelling, and the founding of St. Paul. Written by my favorite author. It's very detailed and full of description, but there is also a good love story and good characters.
Apr 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
While the attitude towards Native Americans demonstrated in this book is a bit disconcerting for the modern reader, Lovelace did her research well. She co-wrote this with her husband, but much of the research behind it was her work. It is "just" an historical romance, but worth the read for those interested in the region and the period.
Dec 10, 2007 added it
Srsly it's like if Betsy were a Pioneer girl, canoeing supplies back and forth between the armies at Fort Snelling and the native American communities down the river. Also falling in love with the wild benefactor and socialite who came to support and invest in his Minnehaha land.
Sep 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
It started slowly, but about 1/3 into the book, I didn't want to put it down. Young Deedee DuGay is smitten with Jasper Page who is impossibly older even if he wasn't a social notch or three above her.
Nov 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Betsy-Tacy books, or fans of Minnesota history
Sweet novel about Indians and settlers in 1830's Minnesota. Because I love this author's later Betsy-Tacy books, it was fun to see her early attempts at writing. But I probably wouldn't have read it (or stuck with it) otherwise.
Jul 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
From time to time caught a glimpse of charming prose that I love in Betsy- Tacy. Young adult fiction was obviously her calling.
A charming historical novel, appropriate for Young Adult readers as well as adults. Just what you would expect from the marvelous Maud Hart Lovelace.
Rebecca Young
Oct 24, 2010 rated it did not like it
Wow...horrible old-fashioned writing! I struggled through it. The story had some highlights and a couple good characters, but there was so much to get through before you could even enjoy those!
May 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
very enjoyable read--one of those books that's way better than you expected
Dec 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Probably her most critically acclaimed book.
Rebecca D
Aug 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
I was so surprised how much I loved this book. Maud was a terrific author. You will get lost in it.
Jan 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
If you are a fan of Maude, then this a must read.
rated it liked it
Jul 15, 2016
Katherine Johnston
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Feb 01, 2018
Rebecca McCaffrey
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Jul 09, 2016
rated it it was ok
Feb 24, 2009
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Maud Hart Lovelace was born on April 25, 1892, in Mankato, Minnesota. She was the middle of three children born to Thomas and Stella (Palmer) Hart. Her sister, Kathleen, was three years older, and her other sister, Helen, was six years younger. “That dear family" was the model for the fictional Ray family.

Maud’s birthplace was a small house on a hilly residential street several blocks above Mankat
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