In the Bookcase

2.22.2017

2 Book Reviews: Down to the Bonny Glen & Beyond the Heather Hills


Down to the Bonny Glen by Melissa Wiley (5 star review)


Down to the Bonny Glen

Little House: The Martha Years series, #3

written by Melissa Wiley

321 pages // published in 2001 // children's historical fiction




BOOK DESCRIPTION

Martha is frustrated because Mum has said she's too old to be playing on the moors now, and she must have a governess. First there's Miss Norrie. All she must to do is teach Martha sewing and etiquette. But Martha's high spirits are too much for her, and she leaves in a hurry. Martha thinks that's the end of that, but then another governess shows up. Her name is Miss Crow, and Martha is sure she's going to be even worse!

Down To The Bonny Glen is the third book in The Martha Years, an ongoing series about another spirited girl from America's most beloved pioneer family.




My Review


5 Star Rating

'Tis a bonny book, indeed!

The chapters simply fly by -- I, for one, couldn't stop reading it! When away from the book for hours at a time, I found myself wondering what would happen next to Hedgie (Martha's dear little pet hedgehog that lives in the larder to collect the bugs), or what special bit of wisdom that Auld Mary would next impart to her starling pupil, or worrying about whether or not Martha will end up sending the second governess packing, just as she did to Miss Norrie.

Martha Morse herself is quite a bonny girl. She loves spending her days out on the moors and imagining where the little fairy folk flit about. Even though she's the daughter of the Glencaraid laird, she doesn't put on fancy airs, and instead desires to put in some honest work whenever she can finagle it in (which is mostly when her parents or governess isn't looking). I like her character a lot -- she's a good, honest lass that other girls can look up to as a role model.

I tell you, I read so many passages aloud to myself (always in as best a Scottish accent as I can manage). The writing is simply perfect. The author somehow went above and beyond what is needed for a children's book to truly convey the Scottish heritage. I really liked how in this volume, it covers several months of time and we get to experience quite a few special days and holidays of the Scottish culture with Martha and the Morse family (most of the traditions I barely knew about myself!).

NOTE to the discerning reader & parents: There's a lot of folklore, fairy tales, and superstitions that the villagers of Glencaraid either believe in or at least talk of often. At a later point in the book, the mother tells the story of her own birth.


Available on Amazon in paperback format.

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Beyond the Heather Hills by Melissa Wiley (5 star review)


Beyond the Heather Hills

Little House: The Martha Years series, #4

written by Melissa Wiley

208 pages // published in 2003 // children's historical fiction




BOOK DESCRIPTION
In this fourth book in the Martha Years series, ten-year-old Martha journeys to the bustling city of Perth to visit her newly married sister Grisie.

This is Martha′s first time beyond the familiar heather hills and this city on the River Tay is more exciting than she could have ever imagined!




My Review


5 Star Rating

In "Beyond the Heather Hills", the young, adventurous Martha Morse, is taking a trip away from home for the first time in her life. The only land she's laid eyes on before is her father's land of Glencaraid... but she's about to discover that there's so much more of the world.

I cherish the moment that Martha and her older sister Grisie locked eyes and bonded like never before. It's a beautiful scene. There's other such enjoyable moments in "Beyond the Heather Hills" -- lots of things to chuckle over, but quite a few solemn moments too. And through it all, there's the Scottish brogue to keep every single conversation SO riveting.

Although these books are nice and lovely to enjoy, this one seemed to have a few grim scenes that could be perceived as a little scary for youngsters reading it alone. For example, while visiting her older sister, Martha stays in a room which once belonged to a girl that is sometimes referred to as "Dead Cora", and Martha is unsettled with the situation for a while (who wouldn't?). About half-way through, Martha witnesses a man having a seizure -- and it's a very dramatic event for her to experience.

There's much Scottish folklore in these books, which colors the culture well. Anyone would learn much about Scotland. (This series isn't just for children to enjoy, you know!)

If only there were more books in this series! It's still hard for me to believe I've read the last of the Martha set, and there's no more! (This probably just means I'll have to re-read the series one day, as Martha Morse is now a character very close to my own heart.)

Already I miss Cook, Nannie and Hedgie (yes, that's the hedgehog), Grisie, Alisdair, Duncan and Robbie, Auld Mary, and I think Miss Crow too. Plus I have the most curious of feelings towards Lew Tucker, the blacksmith's son. If only I could see a peek into Martha's future!


Available on Amazon in paperback format.

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P.S. Like and vote for my review on Goodreads and Amazon.


1 comment:

  1. I was totally unfamiliar with these books. How interesting it would be to learn more of Laura's heritage. Thanks so much for your review and for joining in the LIW challenge!

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