Author: Barbara C. Freeman
Major Themes: Old Classics
Synopsis: With an oppressive uncle, can Lucinda and her family ever get enough money to buy decent shoes and clothing for themselves—or will they always be doomed to near-slavery?
I first discovered Lucinda as an eight- or nine-year-old in one of my favorite libraries: One that specialized in older books. I remember being intrigued by the title, because it is my aunt’s name—and one that isn’t very common, either! The story, too, turned out to be fascinating, and after the first finding I read it a couple more times. Now, many years later, I came across the story again—and since I remembered enjoying it, I wanted to find out if it actually was as fascinating as I recalled.
I’ve been a little disappointed—obviously, my nine-year-old interests were slightly different than they are now—but even so I really enjoyed the story again.
After Lucinda’s father died, the family had to go live with their uncle. A stingy, selfish man, the squire of Rindle Green is a hard taskmaster. When he decides to build a to-scale model of the manor—and will spare no expense to make it perfect—Lucinda wonders if her brothers shouldn’t be given something to mend their shoes instead of building his public reputation. As time goes on, he becomes harder and harder to deal with, until one day she realizes she feels like a prisoner in his domain. One day when his overbearing gets a bit too much, she burns the doll made to look like her in defiance, and as a result is banished to her room for an undetermined time. Will her family ever get enough money to keep themselves in respectable clothing? Can they escape from the heavy hand of their uncle?
Lucinda is an interesting story, but it isn’t among my favorite books. The plot itself is okay—even though it may be a bit cheesy at times. There is a humanistic slant to the story that I didn’t enjoy, but yet it’s fairly good literature and a clean read. Definitely not as good as Dickens, but not many can match him. Overall, I enjoyed reading the story again, and I probably will again a few more years down the line.
WARNING: There is some romance in the story—she likes a painter that comes by, and even though she’s thirteen there are a few mentions of her really missing him. Her sister is often dreaming of the time when she gets married. This story also tends toward the humanistic side, which I personally do not enjoy.
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12