Friday, June 2, 2017

The Enchanted Barn by Grace Livingston Hill Book Review

The Enchanted Barn by Grace Livingston Hill is my favorite book by her and one of my very favorite books of all time. This writer can write!!!!  Sadly, covers and synopsis for her books are not accurate like 99% of the time.  It is that way for this one.  I was very uninterested by the synopsis and tagline, because they are terrible. (At least for the copy I read. There are many re-printings of Grace Livingston Hill books.) But I was running out of books to read, so of course I read it... and was Blown Away!

The following section is a rant:
*The cover does not represent the book very well. For one, the barn is the wrong type.  For two, the car is one that would not have been invented yet.  The clothes and hairstyles are not at all accurate, or would have not been invented until 50 years in the future.  The hair is probably not correct in color, I don't remember to say for sure, but I feel like the color is wrong.  And if this picture represents the first time she and the kind-of landlord are going to the barn, where are ALL the children they had with them????  Are they in the TRUNK?!?!?*

Plot:
This book is set at the turn of the century.  1918 and 1917 are both listed as copyright dates.
The book starts with the main girl, Shirley Hollister, in the countryside and she sees a barn.  Her mom is not doing well health-wise and they cannot continue to live in the city, because it is just making her worse.  The problem is a house in the countyside costs a lot of money that her family does not have.

Shirley thinks that the barn would make a good house and could be in their price range. (Of course they get the barn, because the title wouldn't be The Enchanted Barn otherwise.  I don't want to say how, because when I read it, I didn't know.)  She overheard two men talking about how they can't sell the property, because of a will, and because one of the heirs is under age.  She remembers the name of one of the men the property belongs to, and returns to the city to find him and ask about renting the barn.

I don't want to say too much more because the back of the book does not say too much more. The only other thing I knew was that Shirley got kidnapped at some point. (Yes, this book has some Espionage Mysteries-ness!!!! But not until later in the book.)  So, yeah, now you know, too.

The Characters:
The characters are so good!!!! Shirley was just awesome.  I want to be like her!  Well, I don't want my Dad to die and I am happy not having as many siblings as her, but she is very smart and so ingenuitive.  I enjoyed reading from her point of view a lot.  Also, I want to be as useful in Mysteries and as knowledgeable and resourceful as she is. Plus, her faith is impeccable and something to strive for.

Shirley's siblings (I am not going to be going in depth for all of them, because that would take so long) are all flushed out, well-rounded, not flat characters.  I always appreciate that in side characters, because I know how hard it is to write.  Shirley's baby sister is the cutest thing ever!  Grace Livingston Hill writes how the baby talks, so you read it like she says it and that just makes her so much cuter!!

The main guy, Sidney Graham, (sometimes just called Graham) is very much his own character, not just there to be a love interest.  He has a family, and a job. The character development of Sidney and Shirley were realistic, at least to me.  I love Sidney's little sister, and I so enjoyed learning about his family.  I really appreciate that we got to know his family.  In a lot of YA, or really any books, you don't want to get to know the guy character that well, or just him, but not his family.  That kind of character writing is getting annoying to read, and this was a breath of fresh air.

Since the cover says this is "A Novel of Enduring Romance", on to the Romance.  It was so cute and appropriate for many ages to read.  When Grace Livingston Hill writes a Romance, she writes a really classy Romance, although she does have books that don't contain any romance at all.

I don't have an age warning because, the only semi-scary thing is the kidnapping, but Grace Livingston Hill handles that so well that it's not really scary, or inappropriate, or anything.  The Romance is appropriate for all ages, as noted above.  I read this book as a teenager, but the main characters are older than me.  I would not have had any issues if I had read this book as a pre-teen.  It is technically like a classic, because of when the book was published, but the writing's not that hard to read, and the length is reasonable, so I don't think it's intimidating.

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