Thursday, November 19, 2009
O! Scots for the Blessed Mother! Outlaws of Ravenhurst
Today, Wednesday, is Reading on the Beach's A-Z Wednesday, which compels me to inflict another book upon y'all. I had several choices and I went with the one I've been carrying around the longest: Outlaws of Ravenhurst, by Sister M. Imelda Wallace, S.L. I'm a bit concerned by the lack of an imprimatur, but I have to believe the Catholic Authors Press wouldn't be selling anything that doesn't deserve one.
This book was a delight. The purple prose that the first sentence promised cheered me tremendously. ("Night lay on the long swelling waves of the Chesapeake Bay: no wind, no star, a murky darkness." Not too much, but just enough.) Our hero, George, finds that he is really the lost Scot Earl Gordon, not merely a poor American frontier lad. This is no happy Fauntleroy tale, however. Gordon's evil uncle has embraced PROTESTANTISM and is horrified by Gordon's devotion to the true church. It is the reign of Charles I, and Roman Catholics are hotly persecuted in Scotland. Will Gordon's faith be strong? Has his mother really forgotten him in a whirl of parties, or has the uncle locked her in a dungeon while forging those frothy letters? Shall we stop the narrative right after the confrontation between uncle and boy so we can read along with Gordon in his sixty page book of family devotions? Yes, yes we should.
There is a good amount of action and skulduggery, and also a lot of Catholic propaganda (hint, if a character isn't R.C., DON'T TRUST HIM). A bit of history as well; if I got my kids to read it they'd know something about the English Civil War, Scotland, and the founding of the American colony of Maryland. They'd also know a bit about Catholic traditions. Sadly, they are Greek Orthodox, not Roman Catholic, so I'm not getting a nibble, although P thought the idea of a book within a book very funny (especially the part where a character in the inner book told a long story). I know I would have loved this book as a kid. B+
PS. There is also a study guide, but I don't have that.