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In The Children of the New Forest, Marryat describes the trials and triumphs of the four Beverley children, orphaned during the English Civil War and forced to take refuge with a poor woodsman in the New Forest. This is the first annotated edition of a great children's classic, which has retained its popularity since 1847. In The Children of the New Forest, Marryat describes the trials and triumphs of the four Beverley children, orphaned during the English Civil War and forced to take refuge with a poor woodsman in the New Forest. This is the first annotated edition of a great children's classic, which has retained its popularity since 1847.


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In The Children of the New Forest, Marryat describes the trials and triumphs of the four Beverley children, orphaned during the English Civil War and forced to take refuge with a poor woodsman in the New Forest. This is the first annotated edition of a great children's classic, which has retained its popularity since 1847. In The Children of the New Forest, Marryat describes the trials and triumphs of the four Beverley children, orphaned during the English Civil War and forced to take refuge with a poor woodsman in the New Forest. This is the first annotated edition of a great children's classic, which has retained its popularity since 1847.

30 review for The Children of the New Forest

  1. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    It is strange when there is a connection found between dissimilar things in our everyday life. While I was reading this book by Frederick Marryat, I read on a plaque on my nightly rounds at the museum that the artist Thomas Chambers used Marryat's naval writings as an inspiration for some of his seascapes. It shows how famous Marryat was back in the 1800s. Now he has been forgotten, although there is much that is sweet and charming about this story of 4 orphan children who have to make a life fr It is strange when there is a connection found between dissimilar things in our everyday life. While I was reading this book by Frederick Marryat, I read on a plaque on my nightly rounds at the museum that the artist Thomas Chambers used Marryat's naval writings as an inspiration for some of his seascapes. It shows how famous Marryat was back in the 1800s. Now he has been forgotten, although there is much that is sweet and charming about this story of 4 orphan children who have to make a life from scratch after their father is killed in a war between the Roundheads (those in favor of Cromwell) and the Cavaliers (who wanted to keep the monarchy in place) of England and their ancestral home is burned by the Roundheads, as their father fought for King Charles. A kind and loyal forrester of Colonel Beverley (the children's father) takes them into his forest home and they are incognito as they were thought to have perished in the conflagration. The Forrester teaches the 2 boys and 2 girls how to survive and live off of the forest. Marryat is not a great wordsmith and it is simply told, the worst errors come in the conversations between the brothers, who don't talk in a natural manner, but seem to be making lists of things to each other. The girl's characters are underdeveloped and not as interesting as the boys are so I think this would be enjoyed by boys more than by girls.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nicky

    When I first read this, I adored this and thought it was pretty much perfection. I read it over and over again, until the covers fell off my copy. I had that reaction to a lot of children's books, and I can't quite find the enchantment again in this one, which makes me sad. I decided to reread it after I came across a reference to it in one of the books I read for Introduction to Children's Literature. It isn't really a very easily accessible text in some respects: rather biased, sometimes dry, r When I first read this, I adored this and thought it was pretty much perfection. I read it over and over again, until the covers fell off my copy. I had that reaction to a lot of children's books, and I can't quite find the enchantment again in this one, which makes me sad. I decided to reread it after I came across a reference to it in one of the books I read for Introduction to Children's Literature. It isn't really a very easily accessible text in some respects: rather biased, sometimes dry, rather didactic. Historical fiction is a turn-off in itself for some people. I remember being drawn in by the characters, though -- some of them are a little too good to be true, but Edward is at least a bit of an idiot sometimes, overly impetuous and jumping to conclusions. Alice and Edith are somewhat non-characters -- indeed, so is Patience, actually -- so I'm surprised I found so much to relate to, as a child. I suppose I didn't really care about whether the characters were male or female. Now I found the story surprisingly short on everything I was more interested in, in the later part of the book -- how exactly Edward gets on in the fighting, for example, and a more satisfying way of bringing all the characters together at the end. The ending paragraph or so is quite an irritating dry summary. Still, there is still some of the magic in learning how they become so self-sufficient, in how clever Humphrey and Pablo are, and in the forest adventures. The stuff outside of the forest doesn't ring as true, though.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    Maybe 3.5. An enjoyable and interesting read - interesting to look at both as a children's novel and a work of historical fiction from the Victorian period. I really enjoyed the writing, though the plot fell short in a few places. Maybe 3.5. An enjoyable and interesting read - interesting to look at both as a children's novel and a work of historical fiction from the Victorian period. I really enjoyed the writing, though the plot fell short in a few places.

  4. 4 out of 5

    J.C.

    This story is set at the time of the Civil Wars that raged across Britain in the seventeenth century. These wars are often referred to as "The English Civil War", as the conflict centred on the Westminster Parliament, later led by Oliver Cromwell, and the kings, Charles I and II. This book was written two centuries later, but Captain Marryat's elegant language is very dated, for today's children. As with many "Children's Classics" from former centuries, it can still be read and enjoyed by those This story is set at the time of the Civil Wars that raged across Britain in the seventeenth century. These wars are often referred to as "The English Civil War", as the conflict centred on the Westminster Parliament, later led by Oliver Cromwell, and the kings, Charles I and II. This book was written two centuries later, but Captain Marryat's elegant language is very dated, for today's children. As with many "Children's Classics" from former centuries, it can still be read and enjoyed by those of maturer age. I had just watched the excellent film "Cromwell" starring Richard Harris and Sir Alec Guinness, and had then come across, on Radio 4's series,"In Our Time", a programme about the Covenanters, a faction in Scotland who briefly sided with Charles II, but only for their own reasons. I felt that the traditionalist, Royalist, side of the Civil War deserved a hearing, and went back to this childhood favourite of mine. Re-reading this book in order to even up the perspectives on the Civil War fitted in well with a project of mine this year to go through my old children's books to see which are suitable for my grandchildren. Sadly, I can't see them being drawn into Captain Marryat’s old-fashioned prose, and I have to admit that there are many aspects of the book that now belong to a bygone era. The four children of a Royalist cavalier killed at Naseby narrowly escape death in their home, Arnwood, at the hands of Cromwell's troops, and take refuge in the forest, where they are taught by an old forester how to survive. Captain Marryat seems to have known a great deal about forest craft, and I loved the lessons in deerstalking, as well as the descriptions of trapping wild cattle and ponies. As the children adapt to life in the forest they are faced with increasing danger due to the worsening effects of the Civil War, and this is all lively adventure for young people, with a good measure of balance in the summing up of the historical context. In the aftermath of Charles I’s beheading, the oldest of the children, the courageous and hot-headed Edward, thinks over what has been told him by the newly appointed Parliamentary Intendant of the New Forest: “He said that the king wished to be absolute and wrest the liberties from his subjects, and that they were justified in opposing him; I never heard that when at Arnwood. ‘If so, was it lawful to do so? ‘I think it was, but not to murder him; that I can never admit, nor does the Intendant: on the contrary, he holds his murderers in as great detestation as I do. Why, then, we do not think far apart from one another. At the commencement, the two parties were – those who supported him, not admitting that he was right, but too loyal to refuse to fight for their king – and those who opposed, hoping to force him to do right; the king for his supposed prerogatives, the people for their liberties. The king was obstinate, the people resolute, until virulent warfare inflamed both parties, and neither would listen to reason; and the people gained the upper hand, they wreaked their vengeance, instead of looking to the dictates of humanity and justice. How easy it had been to have deposed him, and sent him beyond the seas! Instead of which they detained him a prisoner and then murdered him. The punishment was greater than the offence, and dictated by malice and revenge; it was a diabolical act, and will soil the page of our nation’s history.” The children are all very virtuous, and very pious, and I’m afraid that with my childhood march to Church every Sunday I’m a sucker for some of the more tender passages. When the old forester dies, the children bury him under the old oak behind the cottage; they fence it round, and plant it with wild flowers: “The Sunday following the burial, the weather being fine and warm, Edward proposed that they should read the usual service, which had been selected by old Jacob, at the grave, and not in the cottage, as formerly; and this they continued afterwards to do, whenever the weather would permit; thus did old Jacob’s resting-place become their church, and overpower them with those feelings of love and devotion which give efficacy to prayer.” It is as if Captain Marryat himself derives the greatest pleasure from writing about the children’s years of growing up in the forest; the last few pages, when they have become grown-up, feel rushed. The book's closing section is mostly concerned with a rather sketchy summary of the events leading to the Restoration. Edward by this time is a soldier in Charles II’s personal army abroad, and the last pages skim quickly over his return to England and his meeting again with his family and friends. It all ends happily – it is a children’s book! The characters are two-dimensional, and the only one that might hold interest for an adult is the Intendant. But if you happen to have a copy lying unread on your shelves, there’s plenty of historical and 'survival' material there to interest.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Duane

    To call this a children's book is somewhat misleading. Yes, it is about 4 children, but it is written in a style more suited to adult readers. It's still a good book. I would describe it more as a young adult, historical fiction novel. It's a bit of a history lesson about England in the mid 17th century during the English Civil War. King Charles I has been dethroned, eventually to be executed, and Oliver Cromwell has assumed leadership. The heir, Charles II has escaped to exile and will eventual To call this a children's book is somewhat misleading. Yes, it is about 4 children, but it is written in a style more suited to adult readers. It's still a good book. I would describe it more as a young adult, historical fiction novel. It's a bit of a history lesson about England in the mid 17th century during the English Civil War. King Charles I has been dethroned, eventually to be executed, and Oliver Cromwell has assumed leadership. The heir, Charles II has escaped to exile and will eventually become King when the civil war is over and the monarchy is restored. The four children of the story are from a wealthy and privileged family, their father a loyal colonel in the Kings army. When he is killed and their family home burned, they become orphaned. Believed dead, they are rescued by an old forester, and taken to his cottage in the New Forest to be raised under new identities. The story then proceeds with their life in the forest. It's predictable but enjoyable.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    I loved everything about this book! I appreciate stories where characters persevere, err on the side of right and honor, and make choices based on the good of the whole rather than oneself...those are the true hero stories to me. Such a refreshing read!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kailey (Luminous Libro)

    During the English Civil War, the four Beverley children are orphaned when their wealthy father is killed fighting for the restoration of King Charles. Their grand home is burnt down and they are supposed dead, so they find shelter with a kindly old forester. They each learn to hunt, harvest, and care for their little cottage, living in seclusion deep in the forest. But the oldest boy, Edward, is restless and he dreams of going to war as his father did. The siblings encounter many dangers and pe During the English Civil War, the four Beverley children are orphaned when their wealthy father is killed fighting for the restoration of King Charles. Their grand home is burnt down and they are supposed dead, so they find shelter with a kindly old forester. They each learn to hunt, harvest, and care for their little cottage, living in seclusion deep in the forest. But the oldest boy, Edward, is restless and he dreams of going to war as his father did. The siblings encounter many dangers and perplexities, highwaymen and robbers, spies from the Parliamentary government, and a new Intendant governor over the forest who is determined to capture anyone poaching the deer in the forest. But the siblings are resourceful and brave, so they flourish in their humble cottage, acquiring farm animals and planting small fields, dreaming of the time when their inheritance will be restored to them, if ever the true King returns to England. I loved this story of the Beverley siblings! The plot is interesting and full of action and intrigue. I really liked even the simple aspects of the story about the children learning to do household tasks like cooking, the boys learning how to hunt, and the girls keeping a dairy. I like the formal writing style and the vivid language of this book. I wish that the girls in the story had more time in the narrative. They are sort of background characters, and don't take part in most of the action, but I liked them! I just wish there was more in-depth writing about them. I was really touched by the siblings deep emotional attachment to each other and to the old man who takes them in. Time and again, they are shown to have noble feelings and generosity to their friends. I loved how the siblings all work and sacrifice a great deal to care for and protect each other. Their first thought in any difficult situation is, "How can I take care of my siblings?" Usually, I get bored with historical fiction, but I loved the historical aspects of this story. The characters made the history more intimate and immediate to the reader.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Paula Vince

    I chose this title to fit into the category called a re-read of your favourite classic, for the 2018 Back to the Classics Challenge. I adored this book when I was in Year 9 at High School. I read it through several times, daydreamed about it, recommended it to others, and even tried to draw pictures of the main characters. But I never read it to my own kids since they strongly objected to the title and cover design. (More about their assumptions here. Throughout this review, I'll share several a I chose this title to fit into the category called a re-read of your favourite classic, for the 2018 Back to the Classics Challenge. I adored this book when I was in Year 9 at High School. I read it through several times, daydreamed about it, recommended it to others, and even tried to draw pictures of the main characters. But I never read it to my own kids since they strongly objected to the title and cover design. (More about their assumptions here. Throughout this review, I'll share several alternative covers I found, but I'm sure none of them would have impressed my fussy mob any more.) So this was my first read since childhood. It made me a bit nervous, as it's a sad let-down when things don't live up to our rosy memories. But I was relieved. Whew! It begins with a huge event that draws us right in. The time period is the English Civil War, and the king's troops, known as the Cavaliers are fighting against Parliament and the supporters of Oliver Cromwell who want to overthrow the monarchy. An old park ranger named Jacob Armitage overhears a plot to burn down a gracious old mansion named Arnwood, where the fugitive King Charles is suspected to be hiding. It was the home of a deceased war hero named Colonel Beverley, whose young children will surely burn to death if nobody intervenes. Jacob sneaks them out that very night, with a plan to bring them up as his own grandchildren. So Edward, Humphrey, Alice and Edith must learn to live a rustic lifestyle and fend for themselves in the New Forest, since Jacob believes it's far too dangerous to reveal their true identities. The bulk of the book is all about how they manage to get along after Jacob's death. It includes defending themselves against scoundrels and cutthroats, and concealing their identities when Parliament hijacks the running of the forest, which hurts their royalist hearts. The oldest boy Edward chafes against the lie he's compelled to live, and longs to strike a few blows for the king on his own behalf. It's easy to feel his frustration as he and the others grow into their latter teens. My biggest turn-about is the brother I most admired. When I was a teenager, the restless and adventurous Edward stole my heart. But this time round, I noticed how he seems to walk around with his head in the clouds, dreaming of being a hero, while Humphrey is busy making practical improvements in the short term to keep them all alive. The younger bro seems by far the more intelligent, humble and creative of the pair. He gets ideas from books and improvises with whatever's on hand. In fact, lack of resources is just a fun challenge for him. He revolutionises the cottage, figuring things out from personal observation, trial and error. And above all, he's content to be overshadowed by his brother, and not the sort to be seduced by promises of glory. Humphrey, I've got to say, you're the man! I was still fond of Edward though, because in all his crusader's zeal and getting people's backs up, he's so human. A couple of other reviewers commented that he's a bit of an idiot at times, which is fair enough, since even his best friends agreed. They expressed it a bit less bluntly though. 'You have been more bold than prudent, Edward.' Or, 'For these times, you are much too frank and impetuous. This is not the time for people to give vent to their feelings and opinions.' Or, 'Do you not see you do your cause more harm than good?' Or, 'Be no longer rash and careless in avowing your opinion.' In Edward's defense though, he isn't arrogant, and is quick to recognise wise advice and take it on board, even when it comes from younger siblings or men supposedly on the other side of the political spectrum. It's written so that even if you think he's an idiot, he grows on you, and you still want the best for him. (And you can't go past the girl he falls in love with for foolishness, notably in a decision she makes towards the end. I felt like shaking her. But she's a product of her time.) A couple of other characters they met along the way were among my favourites. The kids accidentally trap a gypsy boy named Pablo, who proves to be a staunch friend and honorary family member, and adds comic relief with his matter-of-fact comments and occasional efforts to shirk intense labour. But one of the best characters by far is Mr Heatherstone, the Parliamentarian who's been appointed superintendant of the forest. Edward and the others must learn to trust him as a friend, even though he presents as an enemy. But Heatherstone is playing a most daring and clever double agent game. It's worthy of Severus Snape, and he grows really fond of Edward as a bonus :) I noticed that some of the most critical reviewers dissed this book based on 21st century ethics, which we could hardly expect an author from Captain Marryat's era to share. Sure, the girls tend to be sidelined by the boys, and there seems to be a fixed mindset that the quality of a person corresponds with the class into which he's born. ('Edward appeared as he was, a gentleman born, and that could not be concealed under a forester's garb.') Yet I believe it's unfair to label the author as a chauvinist or social snob, when he was probably one of the most open-hearted, generous and liberal thinkers of his time. I think the best way to get the most out of this book is to suspend our modern scruples and approach it as an eye-opening step back in time when people thought differently. Then there's all sorts of treasures to pick up. The courteousness of everyday speech is a highlight for me. I love it that these teenagers throw around such cool words in normal conversation as importunity, assiduity and inimical, and it flows so naturally without seeming at all forced. Even when they're insulting their enemies or teasing each other, the language is just beautiful. It made me a bit sad for the woeful deterioration of young people's vocabularies. Maybe it takes reading a book like this to show how low it's sunk. I love the simple faith of their time and place. There was evidently no church service, but Jacob's first thought was, 'I can't teach them much, but I can teach them how to fear God. We must get on how we can, and put our trust in Him who is father to the fatherless.' And the Beverley kids keep up their private devotions after his death, remaining devout in their youthful way, without being overly pious. The parts about the four of them adapting to their rural lifestyle are fun, interesting, and arguably the best thing that could have happened to them. Learning to be self-sufficient rather than waited on by servants for all things is a great advantage. For Humphrey and Alice in particular, being self-taught opens up a whole range of fantastic talents they might never have tapped into in their old lives. The lifestyle is described in one place as 'Arcadian.' In our fast-paced digital age, reading about four teens who live a hidden, quiet life, mainly concerned with subsisting adds a perspective that's probably good for us. There's a bit too much about acquiring venison for my personal taste. I'd obviously forgotten how many times deer and other animals were simply wounded rather than killed outright :( But overall, I couldn't put the book down when it came to the last few chapters, which is the sign of a great storyteller in any era. If a conventional handsome, strong, ambitious and plain-spoken main character like Edward isn't enough to tempt you, I'd encourage you to read it for the sake of the hidden heroes, Humphrey, Pablo and Heatherstone. 🌟🌟🌟🌟 Now, I can't resist adding a few good quotes. Edward: You certainly were not born to be secluded in this forest. Humphrey: I rather think I have found that I was born for it. In attempting to free ourselves from what we considered despotism, we have created for ourselves a worse despotism, and one that is less endurable. It is to be hoped that what has passed will make not only kings but subjects wiser than they have been.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joni

    I started reading this book a year ago, but gave it up, it's a book you have to be in a certain mood to read... well for me anyway... but if you do find yourself putting it back on the bookshelf, remember to get it down one day when you're in need of something wholesome, historical but also exciting to read. Because this book is one of those rare things; it gets better with age. Sort of like wine, or so the saying goes. But anyway... what I'm trying to say is that it's a heavy read (it was publi I started reading this book a year ago, but gave it up, it's a book you have to be in a certain mood to read... well for me anyway... but if you do find yourself putting it back on the bookshelf, remember to get it down one day when you're in need of something wholesome, historical but also exciting to read. Because this book is one of those rare things; it gets better with age. Sort of like wine, or so the saying goes. But anyway... what I'm trying to say is that it's a heavy read (it was published in 1847! Imagine that!) but it's worth it. What's quite refreshing is that Alice, the elder sister, has something of a personality, and so does Patience Heatherstone; so many times in classics like this, the girls and women are relegated to background figures, because that was just the way it was back then. And although Edward, Humphrey and Jacob are more prominent characters, the girls do get a look in, you will be pleased to know! Maybe I'm dwelling too much on that. Yes. But anyway, I remember one year, at Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest (a great place), my auntie told me and my three cousins about the Roundheads and the Cavaliers, and we spent a frosty afternoon at the park, being Cavaliers in hiding. This book brings that fantasy to life, because while they are cooking and tending to the chickens, these children are hiding and in mortal danger, which makes for a good story in anyone's book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ellinor

    The title "Children" of the New Forest is a little misleading. I had only skipped the blurb before reading so I thought this book would be about four little kids playing in the New Forest. Well, it wasn't. I really liked the novel anyway. It has a bit of everything in it: farming, adventure stories and a love story. I enjoyed reading it a lot, although I found the end a little hurried: Almost ten years are told in one chapter. It seemed like the author wanted to put the story the an end as soon a The title "Children" of the New Forest is a little misleading. I had only skipped the blurb before reading so I thought this book would be about four little kids playing in the New Forest. Well, it wasn't. I really liked the novel anyway. It has a bit of everything in it: farming, adventure stories and a love story. I enjoyed reading it a lot, although I found the end a little hurried: Almost ten years are told in one chapter. It seemed like the author wanted to put the story the an end as soon as possible. This stood a little in contrast to the beginning of the book when it is told in all detail how wild cows and horses are captured, which I found a little boring after a certain time.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

    2.5 stars.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    Children of the New Forest is an old children’s story, originally published in 1847, that I never would have read had I not been trying to read all of the 1001 Children’s Books. It’s historical fiction, set back in the 17th century during the time of the English Civil War. It’s the story of the four Beverley children who are orphaned and subsequently taken in by a local forester who disguises them as his grandchildren. The four children remain in hiding for the duration of the war and learn from Children of the New Forest is an old children’s story, originally published in 1847, that I never would have read had I not been trying to read all of the 1001 Children’s Books. It’s historical fiction, set back in the 17th century during the time of the English Civil War. It’s the story of the four Beverley children who are orphaned and subsequently taken in by a local forester who disguises them as his grandchildren. The four children remain in hiding for the duration of the war and learn from their caretaker to live in the forest. It’s a fascinating story, filled with details of life long ago filtered by the author’s perceptions of the time.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Beth (bibliobeth)

    This book tells the story of four children - Edward, Humphrey, Alice and Edith, whose distinguished father Colonel Beverley is killed during the English Civil War while fighting the cause of King Charles and as a result, they become orphaned. An old forester, Jacob Armitage, whilst walking in the woods one days hears a group of men fighting against the king aka Roundheads forging a plan to set fire to Colonel Beverley's mansion, burning everything within, meaning that the children are in mortal This book tells the story of four children - Edward, Humphrey, Alice and Edith, whose distinguished father Colonel Beverley is killed during the English Civil War while fighting the cause of King Charles and as a result, they become orphaned. An old forester, Jacob Armitage, whilst walking in the woods one days hears a group of men fighting against the king aka Roundheads forging a plan to set fire to Colonel Beverley's mansion, burning everything within, meaning that the children are in mortal danger. He immediately sets out to the grand house to warn the children's aunt and guardian, who refuses to leave the property. He manages to persuade her that he should take the children however, and raise them as his own grand-children while teaching them the ways of the forest so they may be able to provide for themselves whilst concealing their identities. This is due to the king having fled, and Cromwell having England under his thumb. If the children's identities are revealed, it could be incredibly dangerous for them. The children pass some happy years in this manner with the love and tutelage of the old man, until he dies, and the children have to learn to survive on their own. To be honest, when I started this book, I had a bit of trouble understanding how children could enjoy it. The subject matter seemed slightly too complex, and there are not many what I call "major action sequences." In fact, not much goes on of much interest, apart from a few fairly exciting hunting expeditions. It was almost what I can imagine the children of Narnia's lives to be like minus the war, wardrobe and talking animals. There are some interesting characters, Pablo their adopted gypsy boy was quite entertaining, along with the villain of the piece whose vendetta against the Edward I quite enjoyed and the adorable old forester Jacob Armitage. Disappointedly, the female characters seem like non-entities, with not much to say for themselves which is a shame. Not that this book is all bad... the historical element is very intriguing, and I wouldn't mind learning more about this period of history. As a classic piece of children's literature however, I think there were MUCH better books written around this time. Please see my full review at http://www.bibliobeth.wordpress.com

  14. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    I wish I had read this as a child. It would have added greatly to the fort-making, food-finding, and hiding from the grown-ups fun. As an adult I found it a quick and fun read. It's really more of a "how to survive in the woods/making your own farm if you start with a cottage, hunting dog and pony but not much else" with a bit of danger and excitement thrown in for good measure. Also "how to escape from the battle of Worcester once all is lost" and "how to hide your Royalist sympathies and frien I wish I had read this as a child. It would have added greatly to the fort-making, food-finding, and hiding from the grown-ups fun. As an adult I found it a quick and fun read. It's really more of a "how to survive in the woods/making your own farm if you start with a cottage, hunting dog and pony but not much else" with a bit of danger and excitement thrown in for good measure. Also "how to escape from the battle of Worcester once all is lost" and "how to hide your Royalist sympathies and friends in a Parliamentarian autocracy". I can see why it would have been popular in the Victorian era when it was written, though probably most kids today would find it slow-going. Maybe it could be re-written as a "Choose your own adventure" story....it would pretty much soundly trounce any one of those I ever read. "There is no one in sight besides your new-found friends and the dead Roundhead soldiers. Your friends want to swap clothes with them to travel in safety. Do you 1) agree and take off your feathered hat in a flash (turn to page 43) or 2) scorn to hide your political ideals and ride on alone, abandoning the cowards where they stand (turn to page 85) .... It isn't a great work of literature -- the characters are mostly two-dimensional props, once the farm is happily established and the "hero" has learned a few lessons, the story wraps up a few years at light speed with Charles II returning and everyone, now grown up, getting happily married off. The End. Still quite fun though.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Christian West

    Gosh this book dragged. 4 children watch their house burn down in a revolution in the UK in the mid 1600s. They then go live in a forest. The daughters tend the house (aka are not related to the plot and thus get no writing dedicated to them) whilst the oldest son sets out to help his king and country. This goes on for 239 pages and covers about a year. Then in the last 9 pages there's a war, a loss, a win, another war, some marriages, and everything is wrapped up. There seems to be a lot of posi Gosh this book dragged. 4 children watch their house burn down in a revolution in the UK in the mid 1600s. They then go live in a forest. The daughters tend the house (aka are not related to the plot and thus get no writing dedicated to them) whilst the oldest son sets out to help his king and country. This goes on for 239 pages and covers about a year. Then in the last 9 pages there's a war, a loss, a win, another war, some marriages, and everything is wrapped up. There seems to be a lot of positive reviews about this book on Goodreads. I strongly suspect that I'm reading a different book. I understand that this was written in the 1800s and so the language is going to be dense, but I've written plenty of other books from the time that moved along quicker. A lot of the novel comes across as a 'how to live in the forest' guide with some extra scenes put in to create a story, but if I wanted something like that I'd rather read The Coral Island which at least has pirates.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    I was pleasantly surprised by this story. I expected it to be overly descriptive and somewhat moralizing (considering when it was written), but it wasn't. Of course, I have an early edition, which I always enjoy reading more than a new reprint. I was pleasantly surprised by this story. I expected it to be overly descriptive and somewhat moralizing (considering when it was written), but it wasn't. Of course, I have an early edition, which I always enjoy reading more than a new reprint.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Angie Thompson

    Okay, but not destined to become a favorite. I felt like most of the book was much too easy for the main characters. That's strange to say in a book about four children learning to survive on their own in the forest, but it's true. We never see much of their struggles, just their successes. They notice a problem, talk it over, find a solution that works, and move on. I kept waiting for the action or suspense to pick up, but it didn't until the very end (and by very end, I mean the last 2-3 chapte Okay, but not destined to become a favorite. I felt like most of the book was much too easy for the main characters. That's strange to say in a book about four children learning to survive on their own in the forest, but it's true. We never see much of their struggles, just their successes. They notice a problem, talk it over, find a solution that works, and move on. I kept waiting for the action or suspense to pick up, but it didn't until the very end (and by very end, I mean the last 2-3 chapters). There were a couple of suspenseful episodes in between, but they were very short and not nearly as dramatic as they could have been. To be clear, I don't mind sweet little stories about normal family life with no major crises. The problem with this one was that it kept acting like it wanted to be full of action and danger, but none of it ever materialized. (view spoiler)[Will their enemies discover their secret identity? No. Will Edward be caught and tried as a poacher? Nope. Will the nasty antagonist from that one random scene make good on his vengeance? Only much later in a completely random, easily-foiled, and very brief attempt. (hide spoiler)] The last chapter or two covered a lot of time in a very short space, as if the only point was to skip forward in history several years so we could get a proper ending. Even after all that, though, I probably would have given it three stars if not for Edward's ridiculous pride in the last chapter. I had really liked seeing him become more humble, learn to take advice, and become willing to trust certain people. And then to have him come back in the last chapter, after the major misunderstanding had been cleared up, more prideful and distrusting than ever just exasperated me. Just--really, Edward? Really? Final rating--2.5 stars

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ken Ryu

    A simple and short children's book. Its ok. Set during the 17 century English Civil War, four children of a royal family aligned with the soon to be decapitated King Charles I are forced to flee their home. Their father is dead after fighting for the king, and their mother soon follows in his fate. They find a friend of the family willing to protect them against the Roundheads and the forces of Oliver Cromwell. They have to adapt to their new situation and grow up fast and find ways to survive t A simple and short children's book. Its ok. Set during the 17 century English Civil War, four children of a royal family aligned with the soon to be decapitated King Charles I are forced to flee their home. Their father is dead after fighting for the king, and their mother soon follows in his fate. They find a friend of the family willing to protect them against the Roundheads and the forces of Oliver Cromwell. They have to adapt to their new situation and grow up fast and find ways to survive their refuge. There is a love story and a happy ending, and the book dabbles in history while showing the tenacity and determination of the human spirit.

  19. 5 out of 5

    zane deann

    DNF. A school read, but luckily a multiple choice one... I'm reading Little Women instead. It was so dull and boring, and the writing style... agh, no thanks. I doubt I'll ever come back to this. (Maaaybe. But only under dire circumstances. Haha.) DNF. A school read, but luckily a multiple choice one... I'm reading Little Women instead. It was so dull and boring, and the writing style... agh, no thanks. I doubt I'll ever come back to this. (Maaaybe. But only under dire circumstances. Haha.)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sylvester

    This one seems to be in the same line of young adult fiction as Ballantyne or Stevenson (not that the writing is of Stevenson quality, just the same genre) - Stories For Boys, you know, kids out on their own, with no adult supervision, having to make their way in the world and participating on historical events in the meantime - in this case, the trouble between the Cavaliers and the Roundheads. Not a bad story, but I should have read it back when I was a teen myself. It would have hit the spot. This one seems to be in the same line of young adult fiction as Ballantyne or Stevenson (not that the writing is of Stevenson quality, just the same genre) - Stories For Boys, you know, kids out on their own, with no adult supervision, having to make their way in the world and participating on historical events in the meantime - in this case, the trouble between the Cavaliers and the Roundheads. Not a bad story, but I should have read it back when I was a teen myself. It would have hit the spot. Now? Not so much. However, I've been looking up Marryat's other books, and there are pirates and sea battles galore, so perhaps I just picked The Wrong Book this time round. YA fiction is often just as good if not better than many adult novels. Better luck next time.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    Read here Opening: BY CAPT. MARRYAT, R.N. 1864. CHAPTER I. The circumstances which I am about to relate to my juvenile readers took place in the year 1647. By referring to the history of England, of that date, they will find that King Charles the First, against whom the Commons of England had rebelled, after a civil war of nearly five years, had been defeated, and was confined as a prisoner at Hampton Court. The Cavaliers, or the party who fought for King Charles, had all been dispersed and the Par Read here Opening: BY CAPT. MARRYAT, R.N. 1864. CHAPTER I. The circumstances which I am about to relate to my juvenile readers took place in the year 1647. By referring to the history of England, of that date, they will find that King Charles the First, against whom the Commons of England had rebelled, after a civil war of nearly five years, had been defeated, and was confined as a prisoner at Hampton Court. The Cavaliers, or the party who fought for King Charles, had all been dispersed and the Parliamentary army under the command of Cromwell were beginning to control the Commons.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Georgina

    A wonderful read. It relates beautifully how the children coped with living on their own in the forest, adapting to farming and hunting as they did in those days. It gives you a great desire to do the same. However, some parts which I thought quite important were too quickly narrated, as with the ending which goes from an exchanging dialogue on one page to the following year and happy ever after on the next. Otherwise, a lovely insight to life in the day, from a child's view point. A wonderful read. It relates beautifully how the children coped with living on their own in the forest, adapting to farming and hunting as they did in those days. It gives you a great desire to do the same. However, some parts which I thought quite important were too quickly narrated, as with the ending which goes from an exchanging dialogue on one page to the following year and happy ever after on the next. Otherwise, a lovely insight to life in the day, from a child's view point.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Zarish Fatima

    I loved this book. It begins with simple tragedy. Four kids end up living on family estate in a forest.and they are taught to live a life at its fullest and to make most of the worst circumstances by a simple countryman. It is a beautiful book which revolves from childhood to adolescence to adulthood.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Janelle

    This was better than I expected although I found the last quarter of the book less interesting. I fell asleep numerous times throughout the reading so I may have missed some bits. The Librivox narrator was excellent. Many thanks to him.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore

    Fast paced and exciting adventure tale. It was interesting to see some characters from Du Maurier's book set in the civil war I recently read. Fast paced and exciting adventure tale. It was interesting to see some characters from Du Maurier's book set in the civil war I recently read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    First sentence: The circumstances which I am about to relate to my juvenile readers took place in the year 1647. By referring to the history of England, of that date, they will find that King Charles the First, against whom the Commons of England had rebelled, after a civil war of nearly five years, had been defeated, and was confined as a prisoner at Hampton Court. Premise/plot: Jacob Armitage, a forester, saves the lives of the four Beverley children--Edward, Humphrey, Alice, and Edith--during First sentence: The circumstances which I am about to relate to my juvenile readers took place in the year 1647. By referring to the history of England, of that date, they will find that King Charles the First, against whom the Commons of England had rebelled, after a civil war of nearly five years, had been defeated, and was confined as a prisoner at Hampton Court. Premise/plot: Jacob Armitage, a forester, saves the lives of the four Beverley children--Edward, Humphrey, Alice, and Edith--during the English Civil War. He overhears a plot to burn Arnwood--the Beverley estate--and rushes to get the children to safety before the soldiers can arrive. He decides it would be safest to allow people to believe the children died in the fire. As for the children, he'll raise them as his grandchildren in his oh-so-humble cottage hidden deep within the New Forest. He'll teach the children everything they will need to know to survive on their own. Most of the action occurs after Jacob's death as the children are a bit older. (The first part reads a bit like Swiss Family Robinson or Robinson Crusoe.) Edward has become a great hunter--though hunting technically isn't allowed in the New Forest. The Parliament--led by Cromwell--has taken possession. Edward doesn't recognize that government--his family long being loyal to Charles I and then his son, Charles II. But he slowly but surely comes to respect the man left in charge--a Mr. Heatherstone. He has a daughter, an oh-so-beautiful daughter, named Patience. After much reservation--years go by since their first meeting--Edward becomes his secretary and takes up residence with the family. But when there's an opportunity to serve the should-be-would-be King (Charles II) will Edward do his duty and continue his family's legacy? My thoughts: I really enjoyed Marryat's The Children of the New Forest. The first half focuses more on life in the forest--living off the land, hunting, tracking, trapping, building things, catching wild cattle, making. The second half focuses more on relationships and the times. There's a bit of romance in this last part. I loved the characterization. I loved spending time with Edward. I wouldn't say the characterization of all characters is equally sophisticated. There is a gypsy character, Pablo, I believe, that is fairly stereotypical. Readers are reminded every time he's mentioned that he is lazy because he's a gypsy; that he's prone to stealing because he's a gypsy; that he has to be tricked into working because he's a gypsy. But despite all the telling, the showing reveals him to be a fiercely loyal character that serves his friends well. I loved the faith aspect throughout the book. Jacob raised these four kids to love God and to trust in Him always.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book was written in the mid 19th century, although set a couple of hundred years earlier at the time of the English Civil War and the Cromwell protectorate. It's a period of our history that I know little about and I found this aspect of the story quite enlightening. It's made me interested enough to follow up by reading a history of the civil war. It's also a good adventure yarn, in which the four noble children are rescued by a forester when they home is burned to the ground. He takes car This book was written in the mid 19th century, although set a couple of hundred years earlier at the time of the English Civil War and the Cromwell protectorate. It's a period of our history that I know little about and I found this aspect of the story quite enlightening. It's made me interested enough to follow up by reading a history of the civil war. It's also a good adventure yarn, in which the four noble children are rescued by a forester when they home is burned to the ground. He takes care of them and teaches them to look after themselves. The boys learn to hunt and run the farm, the girls to cook, clean and mend. Edward, the older son, gets involved in the conflict between the Cavaliers and Roundheads. The younger boy, Humphrey, discovers a natural talent with the animals and has great ideas about expanding the farm. He has numerous adventures in trying to trap the wild cattle and ponies and raise his flocks of poultry. This is definitely a boys' story. The girls (the two sisters and a couple of neighbours) are secondary characters, less well defined, and their only contribution is the traditional one of taking care of the boys or being their romantic focus. Several themes are developed in the book, including the importance of family, of loyalty, of good versus evil and whether those two things can always be cleanly defined. For example, there were characters on each side of the civil war who could see the point of view of those on the other side, and it was only the king and Cromwell who were confident that they were 100% right in their political positions. Also, when Humphrey is shooting venison for food and to sell, or trapping the cattle and ponies, they justify this poaching because they had been thrown out of their home and left to fend for themselves. Although it's a children's book, it was engaging for an adult, or for this adult at least! I find that many of these older children's books were written using a wider vocabulary and in a more mature style than modern ones, so can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. Thank you to Jill from the 'Reading the 20th Century' group for the recommendation!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Phil

    I ummed and ahhed over my rating for this and eventually plumped for the full 5 stars, because I thoroughly enjoyed this ripping yarn. When a youngster I read Marryat’s Mr Midshipman Easy, another tale of a high born young man having to make his way under the guise of a lower caste. I remember enjoying that one too, because the author has a very easy reading style and feels like a fireside story on a winter night. Here we meet the Beverley children. Orphaned when their father died at the Battle of I ummed and ahhed over my rating for this and eventually plumped for the full 5 stars, because I thoroughly enjoyed this ripping yarn. When a youngster I read Marryat’s Mr Midshipman Easy, another tale of a high born young man having to make his way under the guise of a lower caste. I remember enjoying that one too, because the author has a very easy reading style and feels like a fireside story on a winter night. Here we meet the Beverley children. Orphaned when their father died at the Battle of Naseby on the Royalist side in the English Civil War, they are saved from murder by Jacob Armitage, an old loyal family servant, when their house is burned to the ground by marauding Roundheads. To the rest of the world, the four Beverley children are mourned, but secretly raised in a poor cottage in the New Forest as Armitage’s grandchildren. Edward, Humphrey, Alice and Edith learn self-sufficiency and after a short breaking in period take to their new life without pride and with gusto. Most of the becomes almost a how to manual on farmsteading and hunting in a forest. Edward becomes a skilled hunter, Humphrey an extremely resourceful farmer, Alice a great cook, dairyhand and seamstress and Edith, the youngest, looks after the poultry. When Armitage dies, the children must fend for themselves, which they do admirably and with little romanticism from Marryat, and heir adventures continue. I almost took a star off, because for me the story got less enjoyable when we follow Edward into his battles for the king, because Edward is so impulsive and occasionally thoughtless, but then it probably needed the change of scene and pace. For me, however, Humphrey is the star of the book. Thoughtful, quiet, prudent, curious and ingenious, but also extremely brave when called upon, he is what every bookish child would like to be. He - much more than his impetuous gun-toting older brother - is who saves their lives and keeps them going when Old Jacob dies. I’m overlooking the faults in the book related to the time it was written (such as the limited input from the girls) because this works so well in spite of that, and the female characters are still full of spit and vigour anyway. Thoroughly recommended to anyone wanting a good adventure or the knowledge of how to capture and tame a wild New Forest pony.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Darlene Nichols

    Historical Fiction read aloud for school, detailing the lives of four children left orphaned during the English Civil War. It was interesting to read an account from the Royalist (“Cavaliers”) perspective, as our history readings mainly highlighted the Parliamentarian (“Roundheads”) side. Themes of loyalty, bravery, and a strong work ethic were woven into each of characters. Such a joy to learn alongside my kids!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Geraldine

    Studied this as one of my form 3 or 4 literature syllabus readings and had read it before we even started the academic year. I loved it, and it inspired a sense of responsibility and diligence at a young age. Not far fetched at all, I thought, for a kids' tale and also somewhat distressing. Insightful into what must have been the realities of the time. Studied this as one of my form 3 or 4 literature syllabus readings and had read it before we even started the academic year. I loved it, and it inspired a sense of responsibility and diligence at a young age. Not far fetched at all, I thought, for a kids' tale and also somewhat distressing. Insightful into what must have been the realities of the time.

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