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Classic children's fantasy fiction, with rather poor Kindle formatting
on 8 February 2014
Gerry, Jimmy and Kathleen have to stay at Kathleen's boarding school one holiday, due to illness elsewhere. They are loosely in the charge of the French mistress, but Gerry manages to charm her and they have a great deal of freedom. They start to explore the neighbourhood and stumble across a castle with, so it seems, a young princess who has been asleep for 100 years.
The princess turns out to be Mabel, who befriends the children and shows them some 'magic', using tricks of the castle, only to discover that a particular ring is indeed magical, granting various wishes with a variety of consequences...
The idea is somewhat similar to that of the better-known 'Five Children and It', but with more of a theme of castles and jewels, and the ongoing plot of trying to be nice to the somewhat sad mam'selle who is staying in the school. Sometimes amusing, in a low-key way, this was quite fun to read, although the Kindle version was rather poorly converted, meaning that a lot of the punctuation was missing, making it jar somewhat as I read.
I'm not sure if I ever read this as a child, but I enjoy classic children's fiction, so was pleased to find it free for my Kindle. I assume that in book format it would be easier to read.
Intended for children aged around 8-11, the language is inevitably dated, since the book was first published in 1907. Some of the concepts may seem rather naive, even unpleasant - yet E Nesbit gets nicely into the mind of children, and has produced an enjoyable story. Recommended.