Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Enchanted Castle: Review

When you are young so many things are difficult to believe, and yet the dullest people will tell you that they are true--such things, for instance, as that the earth goes round the sun, and that it is not flat but round. But the things that seem really likely, like fairy-tales and magic, are, so say the grown-ups, not true at all. Yet they are so easy to believe, especially when you see them happening.

The Enchanted Castle (1907) is a children's fantasy novel by the wonderful E. (Edith) Nesbit. It tells of the summer adventures of a curious family of children who are forced to spend their holiday at Kathleen's boarding school when their cousin (whose school let out first) arrives at their house with a case of the measles. The cousin must be quarantined and the children can't go home for their planned daily outings and fun. Gerald sets out to charm the French schoolmistress into letting the children wander the countryside in search of excitement. Jerry is certain that there must be a cave somewhere that they can play bandits or pirates or...something much more fun than the forced boredom of a schoolroom.

Little do they know that they will stumble upon a secret passage leading to a castle with a new friend, a treasure trove of jewels, a magic ring that can induce invisibility (among other magical side-effects), and a garden full of statues that come alive at night in the moonlight. They also learn that while magic may be exciting and fun, one must always be careful what one wishes for....You just might get it. Of course, in this lovely children's fantasy, all's well that ends well and the magic comes right in the end and they even manage to reunite a pair of lovers who were separated by a stubborn old man. Happy endings all around.

Nesbit is another children's author that I missed when growing up. This is a delightful tale of magic, fantasy, and humor with a healthy dose of adventurous mishaps--just enough to keep one's feet planted firmly in reality. It is easy to see why this novel has stood the test of time as a favorite children's classic. ★★★★

1 comment:

fredamans said...

Once I read your thoughts I thought I read the publication date wrong. Sounds well written for 1907, enough so I would like to read it.