Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Little Princess .. and books of that ilk

This kind of book was among my all-time favorites as a young reader. Since, of course, I was really wholly unrelated to the people who raised me, and was just waiting for my real, royal, rich parents to locate me and sweep me away. I do enjoy the satisfying story of the orphan who survives travails, only to be reunited with her proper [did I mention rich?] family at the end. Eva Ibbotson is doing a fine job reviving this kind of novel with two of my favorites, Journey to the River Sea and The Star of Kazan.

I'm almost finished with something very similar called Listening for Lions. A young girl is orphaned by the 1918 flu epidemic; wicked, wicked people force her to pretend that she is their daughter so she can secure the parents' inheritance from the father's aged father. [Did I mention that the grandfather is rich?] Virtue and truth triumph, naturally, and the orphaned Rachel is formally adopted by the grandfather. End of story.

Well, not exactly. Rachel is determined to return to her birthplace in Africa and re-open the mission hospital her parents ran before their deaths. So, now grandfather is dead, Rachel has plenty of money and she is currently in medical school. I'm going out on a limb here to say I think all will end well.

But could there be a duller story? Who cares what happens after she finds her new [rich] family? This book is catalogued y at my library, but this is such a tame, kid-friendly story.

The audiobook is decent; Bianca Amato is doing a fine job (I was not happy at her interpretation of Swan Town when I listened last year, but I blame that book's diary format) at portraying shy, introspective, lonely Rachel. [yawn] Still, it's nice to see that nearly all our copies of this audiobook are checked out.

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