Frances Hodgson Burnett – Little Lord Fauntleroy
Length: 269 pages
Genre: Children’s Classic
Started: 09 October 2010
Finished: 10 October 2010
Where did it come from? The library booksale / Free ebook from Amazon.
Why do I have it? A Little Princess is my favorite book from my childhood, if not ever, and I’d always heard this referenced but never read it – or even knew what it was about.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 16 December 2006
Fauntleroy’s so good
and sweet, it’s enough to give
Summary: Cedric Errol was for the most part a normal seven-year-old boy. His British father died when he was young, but his American mother and he live a happy, comfortable life together. One day, a lawyer arrives from Britain with some startling news: Cedric’s uncles (whom he’s never met) are dead, which leaves Cedric as Lord Fauntleroy, and standing to inherit an Earldom. His grandfather, the current Earl, is a nasty, cantankerous, selfish old man, who is still upset about Cedric’s father marrying an American. The Earl sends for Cedric to come live with him in England, not for the boy’s benefit, but for his own sense of pride. Cedric has been brought up to be unfailingly good, kind, and trusting, but how will such an innocent fare when given the privilege and power of nobility?
Review: Well, color me misinformed. For some reason I had in my head that to be called “a little Lord Fauntleroy” was a disparagement, meaning you were acting like a spoiled brat. Turns out, the reality is pretty much the exact opposite. Cedric is almost preternaturally wonderful: kind, cheerful, giving, attractive, selfless, strong, trusting, and only ever seeing the best in people. He’s essentially a male version of Sara Crewe from A Little Princess, but even more wonderful; even Sara was allowed one fit of temper. Cedric’s extreme naivetë actually makes it somewhat hard to believe him as seven-year-old; in some places, four or five would have seemed to be a better fit. Regardless, this book – and Cedric himself – did charm me. Similarly to A Little Princess, the story is mostly one of the magic that being a good person can work in the world, and as morals go, that’s not a bad one. My only real complaint is that Burnett transcribed her dialogue pretty literally, and gave all of her servants and rural people such thick country accents that some of their lines were almost unreadable. Apart from that, though, it’s a sweet little story, predictable as all get out, of course, but not overly facile in its resolutions. Not quite as engaging as A Little Princess or The Secret Garden, but a charming little book all the same. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Best for fans of Burnett’s other books, or British children’s lit in general.
“But only be good, dear, only be brave, only be kind and true always, and then you will never hurt any one, so long as you live, and you may help many, and the big world may be better because my little child was born. And that is best of all, Ceddie, — it is better than everything else, that the world should be a little better because a man has lived — even ever so little better, dearest.” (Location 1214)
Other Reviews: Jen Robinson’s Book Page
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.
First Line: Cedric himself knew nothing whatever about it.
Vocab: (see the whole list)
- Location 1159: “Mrs. Dibble had been kept so busy attending to customers who came in to buy a pennyworth of needles or a ha’porth of tape and to hear what she had to relate, that the little shop bell over the door had nearly tinkled itself to death over the coming and going.” – contraction of “half-penny’s worth.”
- Location 1481: “Often as he watched the little fellow lying upon the hearth, conning some big book, the light shining on the bright young head, his old eyes would gleam and his cheek would flush.” – studying attentively or learning by heart.
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