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Stray Pearls   By: (1823-1901)

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Stray Pearls by Charlotte Mary Yonge is a beautifully written novel that transports readers back to the Victorian era. With its captivating storytelling and richly drawn characters, this book undoubtedly merits high praise.

The story revolves around two young women, Hester and Margaret, whose lives take different paths, yet are forever entwined. Hester, an impulsive and lively girl, is thrust into a world of privilege and wealth when she discovers that she is an heiress. Margaret, on the other hand, grows up in more modest circumstances but is equally determined to carve out a meaningful life.

Yonge expertly weaves these two narratives together, seamlessly exploring themes of family, love, and personal growth. The author takes great care in developing her characters, breathing life into them with their distinct personalities and motivations. Hester's transformation from a carefree girl to a responsible woman is particularly compelling, as we witness her learning the value of true friendship and the importance of self-discovery.

The novel is also notable for its vivid descriptions of nineteenth-century society and its conventions. Yonge brilliantly captures the intricacies of societal expectations, shedding light on the limitations placed on women during that time. The struggles faced by both Hester and Margaret are relatable, making them compelling heroines who challenge societal norms in their own ways.

What truly sets Stray Pearls apart is Yonge's exquisite prose. Her writing style is elegant and immersive, evoking a sense of time and place that transports readers to the Victorian era. The author masterfully incorporates historical details without overwhelming the narrative, creating a rich backdrop against which the characters' stories unfold.

As with any great novel, Stray Pearls has its moments of tension and drama. Yonge expertly builds suspense and delivers several surprising twists, keeping readers engaged until the very end. The emotional depth of the story resonates long after turning the final page, leaving a lasting impression on readers.

While Stray Pearls may not be as widely recognized as other works from the Victorian era, it is undoubtedly a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Charlotte Mary Yonge's masterful storytelling and well-crafted characters make this novel a truly memorable read. Whether you are a fan of historical fiction or simply enjoy beautifully written tales, Stray Pearls is a must-read that deserves a spot on any book lover's shelf.

First Page:





No one can be more aware than the author that the construction of this tale is defective. The state of French society, and the strange scenes of the Fronde, beguiled me into a tale which has become rather a family record than a novel.

Formerly the Muse of the historical romance was an independent and arbitrary personage, who could compress time, resuscitate the dead, give mighty deeds to imaginary heroes, exchange substitutes for popular martyrs on the scaffold, and make the most stubborn facts subservient to her purpose. Indeed, her most favoured son boldly asserted her right to bend time and place to her purpose, and to make the interest and effectiveness of her work the paramount object. But critics have lashed her out of these erratic ways, and she is now become the meek hand maid of Clio, creeping obediently in the track of the greater Muse, and never venturing on more than colouring and working up the grand outlines that her mistress has left undefined. Thus, in the present tale, though it would have been far more convenient not to have spread the story over such a length of time, and to have made the catastrophe depend upon the heroes and heroines, instead of keeping them mere ineffective spectators, or only engaged in imaginary adventures for which a precedent can be found, it has been necessary to stretch out their narrative, so as to be at least consistent with the real history, at the entire sacrifice of the plot... Continue reading book >>

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