The Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read this with my daughter as part of the Ambleside Online homeschool curriculum for Year 3 and it was surprisingly good. The language was archaic, but the story was engaging: the four orphaned children of Cavalier Colonel Beverly escape from the burning of their estate at Arnwood and come to live in the New Forest under the protection of a wise forester, Joseph Armitage, until they are old enough to fend for themselves. Each child discovers talents and skills that help them to survive and prosper. There were a number of humorous scenes between the characters that my daughter enjoyed, and a little romance between the eldest son and a sweet girl named Patience Heatherstone.
I can see why Ambleside uses this book, as the story delivers a good deal of English history from the Cromwell period, as well as an exciting adventure that children (and adults) can enjoy.
An added bonus: the author led a very interesting life:
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