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Linda Hilton

Reader, Writer, Merciless Reviewer and Incurable Romantic

Currently reading

Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America
Nancy MacLean
Progress: 134/574 pages
Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy
Christopher L. Hayes
Progress: 17/304 pages
The Secular Scripture: A Study of the Structure of Romance
Northrop Frye
Progress: 43/200 pages
Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right
Arlie Russell Hochschild
Progress: 96/454 pages
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
Ibram X. Kendi
Progress: 22/750 pages
All the President's Men
Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward
Progress: 73/383 pages
Women's Gothic and Romantic Fiction: A Reference Guide (American Popular Culture)
Kay Mussell
Progress: 17/157 pages
The Looking-Glass Portrait
Linda Hilton
Really Neat Rocks: A casual introduction to the rocks & gems of Arizona and the lapidary arts
Linda Hilton
Progress: 61/61 pages
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
Jon Krakauer

A Century-Old Chamber of Horrors!

Nan Sherwood at Lakeview Hall - Annie Roe Carr

I love finding old books, especially when they're free.


I don't remember what led me to the Nan Sherwood books, but with free Kindle editions available, I downloaded them for the fun of it.  And rather than fall back on a Goosebumps or other expected Young Adult horror title, a haunted boathouse seemed like a good choice for this Bingo square.


The seven books of the Nan Sherwood series were part of the greater Stratemeyer syndicate that included Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Honey Bunch, the Bobbsey Twins, and literally dozens of other series for young readers.  Nan's first adventure was published in 1916, her last in 1937.


Nan Sherwood at Lakeview Hall, or the Mystery of the Haunted Boathouse is the second of the series and finds our plucky heroine embarking on her first term at boarding school on the Michigan shore of Lake Huron.  She comes from a family of less-than-modest means and would have been going back to the high school in her home town of Tillbury, but her parents have expectations of coming into a windfall inheritance, so Nan has been sent off with her wealthier hometown chum Bess Harley to the "select" girls' boarding school at Lakeview Hall.


The haunted boathouse plays only a tiny part in the story, but Nan's first couple of months at Lakeview are certainly filled with crises, everything from being accused of theft (more than once!) by the spoiled little rich girl, Linda Riggs, to battling a rattlesnake to nearly drowning during a sudden storm on the lake to falling through thin ice and being stuck in frozen mud to her parents suddenly losing their anticipated fortune and being plunged into poverty.  Never mind that her chum Bess is less than dependably loyal and has her own snobberies, or that Nan's generosity and integrity are often the source of trouble for her.


Throw in the dashing Walter Mason with his automobile (he wears gauntlets and goggles, and has to crank it) and his motorboat, and you've got the makings of a nice rivalry with the nasty Miss Riggs.  And of course there's the intriguing Professor Krenner, who teaches mathematics and architectural drawing and who invites Nan and another student to visit him at his nearby cabin.


There's a lot of innocence in the book, along with some of the horrors of early 20th century prejudices.  The writing is overblown just a bit, and the drama mostly exaggerated.  The ghost in the boathouse isn't very scary -- and of course isn't a ghost at all, as Nan knew from the beginning because plucky fourteen- or fifteen-year-olds even in 1916 don't believe in ghosts.


But overall it was fun, if eye-rolling.