I had never read any of Frances Hodgson Burnett's novels for adults and was amazed by how well she writes and how interested I was throughout the 500 pages of this very long book. One reason is that The Shuttle has a definite theme: the effect of the intelligent, energetic and wealthy American girls who came over to England at the turn of the last century (the 'dollar princesses' apparently) who, in many cases, married wealthy Englishmen who needed sorting out. In this case, the heiress, Bettina Vanderpoel (we are meant to be reminded of the name Vanderbilt) has come over to rescue her sister, who married someone, a Sir Nigel, twelve years before and was never heard of again. (It's true, you have to ignore this implausibility - that the Vanderpoels are meant to be such a close family and yet took all that time to find out what was happening.) Bettina then meets her own Englishman with a title, and these bits of the book are enjoyably Mills and Boon-ish. The other interesting theme is the way Bettina galvanises everyone into doing up the stately home which Sir Nigel has ruined through his fecklessness. I loved this book, turned the pages feverishly, and can completely recommend it as a summer holiday, or any holiday read.
21 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?