Elizabeth M. Pope:
The Sherwood Ring
(Young Adult)

discussed by Janie B. Cheaney, Dr. M. M. Gilchrist, Holley Calmes & Howard Burnham

Janie: I was mentioning to Holley about how the Patriot prospect jarred loose a long-buried memory about one of my favorite books as a young person: The Sherwood Ring, which takes place in upstate New York. The heroine goes to live with her crochety uncle and falls in love with a poor English student who's doing research in the States. The uncle refuses to let the young man set foot on the premises, etc. So far so ordinary, but during the course of the romance she's visited by four ghosts from the Revolutionary era who used to live in or around her vintage home, and one by one they share their story. The most sympathetic and attractive character, the one you're rooting for long before the book ends, is a REDCOAT--not only that, but a leader of Loyalists. Just possibly this book helped me form my view of them as somewhat more than scum. Not deep, but a fun read. I think you'll like Peaceable Sherwood. He's tall and lanky, with a dry sense of humor, and a languid manner--always leaning on things.

Doc: Well, I have just spent the morning in bed with Peaceable Drummond Sherwood... Now there's a line for you, isn't it?! The postman knocked with the parcel when I was still in my dressing gown, so I took the books back to bed, and zoomed through The Sherwood Ring ! It's gorgeous, the reprint has all the original drawings, and I wish I'd known about it when I was a kid!

It's an enchanting book, and, Janie, you're right about the delectable Captain! So nice to find a Redcoat romantic hero in an American novel, AND him making it to the end in one piece! Mind, I was worried about him a few times. He's a very sweet, charming baby lobster in his early 20s. I may be suspicious-minded, but I'm wondering where Elizabeth M. Pope got her inspiration:

I wonder....???!

Holley: Might I say that if Peaceable Sherwood isn't our Pattie.....or inspired by him....I'm a monkey's uncle. It's a neat, sweet, lovely book. I really treasure it.

Howard: Thanks too for pointing me in the direction of The Sherwood Ring - a charming book, not half bad...and I see the spirit of Pattie in Peaceable.

Doc: The only false note was a v. small one: the 'identifiable scraps of tartan' bit: the association of particular setts with particular surnames is mostly a Victorian invention, and the Grahames (Lowlanders) would not have worn tartan at all in the 18C. Again, it was a Victorian enthusiasm that covered the whole country in enough swathes of garish checked stuff to get lots of trigger-happy Overmountain Men very excited about playing 0s and Xs with bullets, and invented the notion of Lowland 'Clans', so everyone could participate in Sir Walter Scott-land and Balmorality. But once the main story is underway, this minor infelicity fades into the background. And if anything, 'Pat' Thorne's career as a poorly paid junior academic in a bedsit is even more realistic, 40 years after his debut! (Been there, done that, got the T-shirt!)


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