By Frances Hodgson Burnett
Seeing how much I have enjoyed Frances Burnett's classic tales The Secret Garden and The Little Princess (both at least twice), when I discovered this one, I just had to read it. I wasn't disappointed for the story held me in it's grips.
The hero is a 12 year-old man--for boy does not quite fit the extremely self-disciplined lad. Marco Loristan is the son of his father; which might sound odd, but it is very much a part of this story. Stefan Loristan is an exile from his native country (where in fact he has never actually been), Samavia (a fictious place in east Europe). Throughout his son's life they have always been poor, never staying any one place overly long--hunted almost as it were.
The story of the Lost Prince--practially a god to the people of Samavia--is woven throughout the book and is in fact the driving force behind much of the character's actions.
This is where I find some quibbles with the story. For starters, the practically god-like nature of this 'lost prince' is somewhat disturbing to the Christian who holds that God is the only one who deserves and should get such undying devotion and reverence. (Though on the one hand one could almost say this could be exempletory of how we ought to live and die for our Heavenly King.) The feelings the loyal Samavians have for the Lost Prince are echoed by Marco and his friend "The Rat" towards Marco's father. (The tender, manly love between father and son is very encouraging and lovely to read.) Almost more "disturbing" is the thread throughout the book of some old Buhddist hermit's teachings to Stefan Loristan that he has passed on to his son. God is spoken of reverently throughout the book, but such talk of God is common from literature from the late 1880's and early 1900's because Christianity was so universally believed in the West during that time.
Still, the bravery and self-sacrificing love and loyalty of the characters is both thrilling and encouraging in this day of effeminate men. I enjoyed the story of adventure and intrigue and watching the growth of Marco and The Rat into stronger fellows. Because of the Eastern Mysticism, I would be inclined to not recommend this book for an undiscerning reader--it is amazing how stories teach and how it causes one to desire to emulate the characters. For that matter, there is much to emulate in the characters and little to not recommend them to you as upstanding persons.
A Reformed Presbyterian girl who enjoys a good movie or a good book any ol'
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