Seriously, how can it be that I have never before known about this book? This is exactly my kind of book, and I am in total love with its amazing greatness, and I am way, way psyched about reading the thrilling continuation of the story in its sequel, Robin.
Basically there is little angelic Robin and her standoffish airhead twit of a mother, Feather, and Robin is sweet and innocent and only ever makes one friend, the manly gallant eight-year-old Donal, who is promptly whisked away from her because of how sinful and naughty Feather is, being supported financially by the presumably-sleeping-with-her Lord Coombe. And Robin grows up and gets kidnapped by German spies and then rescued – no, it’s true. She does. German spies. You can’t make that shit up. It ruins her sweet innocence and rosy outlook on life, which I don’t know why she had one in the first place considering how vile her life was.
There are just so many good things about this book. Like when Robin, who has been living in a crappy attic room with a wicked pinching nurse while her mother parties downstairs, asks Donal, “What is – a mother?” and also, my personal favorite, “What is – loves you?” God, it’s amazing. Oh yeah, and when you find out that Lord Coombe is the way he is because of this lovely frail woman he used to be in love with that looks just like Feather and got beaten to death by her brutal brute of a husband? That was SO AWESOME.
This is not your mother’s Frances Hodgson Burnett. I mean, it is my mother’s Frances Hodgson Burnett, because my mum knew about this all along, but it is way not the same as The Secret Garden and The Little Princess. This is a for-real two-volume novel with young lovers and trials and tribulations. Loves it. In some small measure it helps to ease my Ligeia-paper pain, and I will be a-reading Robin (the sequel! in which Robin scandalously gets herself PREGNANT and Donal unsurprisingly gets himself DEAD) this evening before I go to sleep.