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4.1 out of 5 stars13
4.1 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 11 February 2011
This is a beautiful novella by Frances Hudson Burnett, published in 1877. Esmeralda or Esmeraldy as her father calls her is a young American girl, forced to live in Paris and away from her home in North Carolina. Her family was poor and happily living in the mountains until suddenly they found iron in their land and consequently acquired great wealth. This changed Esmeralda's life as her tyrannical ambitious mother took the family to France, separating them from all they knew, including Esmeralda's beloved fiancé, hoping that she can enter high society. In Paris, both Esmeralda and her timid but kind and loving father are miserable, longing for their old life and the girl is desperate to be reunited with the man she loves and to avoid her mother's plan to marry her to an elderly marquis. The story is told by a Frenchman who befriends the girl and her father, when his wife tutors her and becomes her confidant.

Frances Hudson Burnett is an expert when it comes to characterization and realistic descriptions and this great novella is no exception. The presentation of the vulgar 'new money' mother and the lovely and graceful father and daughter, through the eyes of their loving friends is excellent. In addition the author uses her French narrator to comment on American language and customs. However what I loved most about this story, is that it starts from what usually is considered a happy ending; unexpected wealth for a poor and struggling family, and explores the negative repercussions of this seemingly fortunate event upon their lives.

A note on the Kindle edition: luckily I found no errors, it was extremely easy to download, and a pleasure to read.
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on 4 December 2012
I love the famous Frances Hodgson Burnett children's books "A little Princess", "Little Lord Fauntleroy" and "The Secret Garden" so when I saw this for free download I figured - why not? "Esmerelda" is a bit different in that it isn't a children's book and it's very short and quick to read. It was a pleasant enough read and mildly thought-provoking but nothing more really. I'm glad I read it but I can't imagine I'll read it again whereas I've read the other books a few times (Little Lord Fauntleroy remains my favorite!). If you haven't read the more famous FHB books then I'd recommend them first but this is fine as short stories go.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 September 2014
This little novella (not much more than a short story) is about some newly rich hillbilly Americans who arrive in Paris and are befriended by a kiindly French couple. It is quite well done, written as it was by an American who understood something of North Carolina during that era. As always with Frances Hodgson Burnett, the characterisation is good and the story springs from this. It is quite touching, though personally, I did not find it very satisfying.
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on 24 December 2012
hi i just came to correct the reviewer eleni. her name is frances hodgson not hudson sorry it was an honest mistake i can see
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on 3 May 2013
A great five star read. Well worth reading. A great holiday book. Well recommended, by at least five other readers.
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on 26 April 2016
Never read any of Frances Hodgson Burnett's adult writing before. Sentimental but charming romance.
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on 11 December 2014
Sweet short story that could have been just that little shortrr
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on 9 January 2015
Interesting, and makes you think, rather.
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on 23 May 2015
Dull & obvious
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on 15 February 2015
Very good book
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