The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett: my thoughts

After reading A Little Princess, The Lost Prince, The Secret Garden, and Little Lord Fauntleroy last year, it finally dawned on me that I freaking adore the writing of Frances Hodgson Burnett. Having read (and reread in some cases) her beautiful children’s literature, I was delighted to discover that she has a long list of adult works as well. After going through her children’s literature canon last year, I moved on and the first adult work I read was A Lady of Quality which I really enjoyed. This year I decided to continue on and as it is also on my Classics club challenge list and my Back to the Classics Challenge list, I decided to go ahead with The Shuttle. This was one of her longer works and I definitely felt it warranted a short review from me.

A brief synopsis:

It’s actually a little difficult for me to put this in my own words. Basically, this book uses a shuttle to describe the way “threads” of family connection and commerce connect England and America. The book follows one family whose elder daughter marries a penniless but titled English gentleman when English/American marriages were just beginning to be more commonplace. As the book progresses, we get to know the younger daughter of the family during a time where the marriages between Americans and English have become an everyday occurrence.

So I will not lie, I loved this book. The characters in this book are just lovely. I started out with a mild feeling of impatience towards the older sister but the younger sister is just superb. The characters in this book were just too engaging to ignore. If you are looking for adventure and the like, then this book is not for you, but I fell in love with all the characters in this book. Even the antagonist in this book was fleshed out and I wanted to know what became of him. I am typically a plot driven type of person but I was so interested in all the characters that I wanted to keep reading. The plot in this book is not particularly exciting but it is interesting enough that you will want to know what happens to all of the characters. We come across a rather weak female character in the beginning of the book but after meeting the male antagonist, things move along pretty quickly. The main character shows herself to be strong and intelligent and worthy of the few hundred pages that follow. As I stated before, there is not a whole lot of adventure going on here so I can’t really say much more without ruining the book. But I can say that this is one of my favorites of the year and gives me one more reason to love Frances Hodgson Burnett.

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