Title: The Sherwood Ring
Author: Elizabeth Marie Pope
Major Themes: American Revolution
Synopsis: An orphan girl is sent to live with an eccentric uncle in New York, and begins to get visits from the family ghosts who tell her their stories and help her figure out her life.
The Sherwood Ring is one of the very few books we’ve gotten through Sonlight that I didn’t like. I actually really enjoyed the story—but at the same time I didn’t like certain aspects of it.
Peggy Grahame’s mother had died when she was born, and she was raised by her indifferent father—but when she was 17, he died, too, and she was sent to New York from England to live with an uncle she had never heard of before. Just before he died, her father warned her that Uncle Enos, who lived in the the ancestral house called Rest-and-be-Thankful, was rather eccentric, and would probably never forgive her if she saw the family ghosts and he didn’t. She certainly didn’t know what to think of that!
The mysterious happenings began as she was walking to Rest-and-be-Thankful from the train and a young woman dressed in Colonial garb, riding a horse, gave her some help. Then, she met a young Englishman trying to fix a car, and he brought her the rest of the way—only to be kicked out at once by Uncle Enos! Peggy was mystified, but the mystery continued to deepen as more people from the Revolutionary War appeared and told her their stories.
The author has done a masterful job of spinning a tale in two eras at once. Both the Revolutionary War story and Peggy’s story are told, and both make sense and are gripping mysteries. It’s really interesting to see how the people in both eras are made to interact with each other—but at the same time, I do not like the idea of ghosts, of people from the past coming to talk to people in the present. This kind of interaction was always condemned in the Bible, and I don’t believe it’s right in any way. Also, as far as I can tell, the events described during the Revolutionary War in this book are fictitious. Therefore, I don’t see any value in this story, except as pure entertainment.
WARNING: See the last paragraph. Also, there is fighting a few times.
Read Aloud—Ages 10 – 13
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above