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Marie Blythe (Hardscrabble Books-Fiction of New England)

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At the dawn of the twentieth century, a young girl with a felicitous name immigrates to Vermont from French Canada. She grows up confronting the grim realities of life with an indomitable spirit—nursing victims of a tuberculosis epidemic, enduring a miscarriage alone in the wilderness, and coping with the uncertainties of love. In Marie Blythe, Mosher has created a strong- At the dawn of the twentieth century, a young girl with a felicitous name immigrates to Vermont from French Canada. She grows up confronting the grim realities of life with an indomitable spirit—nursing victims of a tuberculosis epidemic, enduring a miscarriage alone in the wilderness, and coping with the uncertainties of love. In Marie Blythe, Mosher has created a strong-minded, passionate, and truly memorable heroine.


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At the dawn of the twentieth century, a young girl with a felicitous name immigrates to Vermont from French Canada. She grows up confronting the grim realities of life with an indomitable spirit—nursing victims of a tuberculosis epidemic, enduring a miscarriage alone in the wilderness, and coping with the uncertainties of love. In Marie Blythe, Mosher has created a strong- At the dawn of the twentieth century, a young girl with a felicitous name immigrates to Vermont from French Canada. She grows up confronting the grim realities of life with an indomitable spirit—nursing victims of a tuberculosis epidemic, enduring a miscarriage alone in the wilderness, and coping with the uncertainties of love. In Marie Blythe, Mosher has created a strong-minded, passionate, and truly memorable heroine.

30 review for Marie Blythe (Hardscrabble Books-Fiction of New England)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Diane Barnes

    Giving up at 100 pages. I simply don't care about these characters, not enough depth for me. I think if I had read this when I was a teen-age I would have loved it. Giving up at 100 pages. I simply don't care about these characters, not enough depth for me. I think if I had read this when I was a teen-age I would have loved it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bridget

    This is not a book I was even aware existed. I was at the library, browsing around, and saw it. The cover intrigued me, as well as the blurb on the back cover, so I gave it a try. I'm glad I did! This is the story of one woman's life and experiences during the late 1800s through the 1920s. Marie Blythe comes with her parents from French Quebec to Vermont as a child, when her father moves them so that he can find work as a logger. They move to a town called Hell's Gate, founded by Abraham Benedict This is not a book I was even aware existed. I was at the library, browsing around, and saw it. The cover intrigued me, as well as the blurb on the back cover, so I gave it a try. I'm glad I did! This is the story of one woman's life and experiences during the late 1800s through the 1920s. Marie Blythe comes with her parents from French Quebec to Vermont as a child, when her father moves them so that he can find work as a logger. They move to a town called Hell's Gate, founded by Abraham Benedict, a man who arrived there when it was mostly just land and nothing else. He has since built it into a thriving community. Though he is somewhat of a benevolent despot, most of the people in town live very nice lives. When, through a series of events, Marie ends up as an orphan, arrangements are made for her to move the the "Big House," where the Benedicts live, to help in the kitchen and with the housekeeping. She has an odd position eventually, as one who is not quite completely servant, not quite completely family. I won't give away any spoilers, but even at this point in the book, Marie's life has already been pretty interesting - including a stint before she moves in with the Benedicts being part of a clan of traveling gypsies! At a certain point, she leaves and is forced to be on her own. She travels outside of Vermont for a while, but through another series of events, ends up right back in Hell's Gate. She then decides that she wants to stay there, and starts building a life for herself. At the point that she returns, Abraham Benedict has died, and his irresponsible son has taken over. Marie and "Abie" have their share of history and conflicts, but for a while it seems that life will go along just fine. When, towards the end of the book, the people in the town learn that Abie has incurred huge debts, things start to go downhill quickly. Once again, I don't want to go into detail, because this is a complex story, but also I don't want to spill the beans for anyone who might want to read this. By the end of the book, Marie has once again reinvented herself, and is leading a somewhat different life. However, this time, it's under her terms, and she is making plans for her future. This is a well-written book, and though somewhat sweeping in scope, provides a good look into the lives of people at this time period, and the tensions often felt between the Vermonters and the Quebecois. It's not the best book I have ever read, but it kept my interest even though I was not necessarily invested in any one character.

  3. 4 out of 5

    CLM

    A somewhat brutal but vivid depiction of life in rural Vermont in the early 20th century. Marie is orphaned at ten, not long after her parents leave Quebec for better economic opportunities in the only too suitably named Hell's Gate. There, she becomes entangled with the Benedict family, from the memorable "Captain" who established the town, to his handsome son Abie, whose interest in Marie turns inexplicably to hatred. A somewhat brutal but vivid depiction of life in rural Vermont in the early 20th century. Marie is orphaned at ten, not long after her parents leave Quebec for better economic opportunities in the only too suitably named Hell's Gate. There, she becomes entangled with the Benedict family, from the memorable "Captain" who established the town, to his handsome son Abie, whose interest in Marie turns inexplicably to hatred.

  4. 4 out of 5

    James Johnson

    marie blythe is classic howard frank mosher. its written like a good campfire story. barely believable but highly entertaining, taking you on a journey thru turn of the century northern vermont life. also recommended: on kingdom mountain and disappearances, both by the same author. best read outside, drinking coffee, at 6.20 AM

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paul David Callahan

    Got very pulpy...stopped around p.135...love his short stories. They are much richer and higher impact.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sheila Arel

    Another great read by Mosher . I am in love with his settings and the era. His writing pulls you in after just a few pages

  7. 5 out of 5

    Beverly Jean

    Really interesting book for anyone with an interest in history of early Vermont and the French Canadians who came to make their life in the logging camps and small towns. The story is that of Marie Blythe who came with her family from Quebec to a company town and make their home in a settlement opposite that of the village founder, Captain Benedict. When Marie becomes an orphan she moves in with the Benedict family and forms a tragic attachment to the Captn's son Abie who inexplicably turns agai Really interesting book for anyone with an interest in history of early Vermont and the French Canadians who came to make their life in the logging camps and small towns. The story is that of Marie Blythe who came with her family from Quebec to a company town and make their home in a settlement opposite that of the village founder, Captain Benedict. When Marie becomes an orphan she moves in with the Benedict family and forms a tragic attachment to the Captn's son Abie who inexplicably turns against her. Things happen and we meet Pia and the the band of gypies. Marie leaves town and the story follows her through a series of adventures with Pia and brings her to a logging camp where she meets Jigger Johnson. The story follows their hardships all the while unraveling a mystery in the background. Marie returns home after Jigger's death where the story picks up the mystery of her early benefactor and his son Abie. The strength of the book is Marie's unending spirit through her life as she finds herself an orphan and later enduring a miscarriage alone in the woods and coping with feelings of betrayal. Through it all, she finds the strength to help others from nursing victims of tuberculosis to unraveling a mystery from her youth and doing her best to save the town from wildfire. Marie is a memorable heroine of the era and times of Vermont through the early 20th century. This book kept me interested although I did find some of it a little hard to believe, I kept waiting for the scene where she would kill a bear with her bare hands LOL! but all in all it was fast paced and interesting in terms of chronicling how people lived and survived in that era. I think it would be a particularly good read for young teens.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Marie Blythe and her family migrated from Canada to northern New England at the beginning of the 1900s looking for work. They ended up in a town called Hell's Gate which is dominated by Abraham Benedict and his furniture factory. The business is successful and the Benedicts' are kind to their employees and families. Through a series of events, Marie ends up an orphan and goes to live at the Big House as a companion to Mrs. Benedict. Everything is wonderful except for their troubled son, Abie. Th Marie Blythe and her family migrated from Canada to northern New England at the beginning of the 1900s looking for work. They ended up in a town called Hell's Gate which is dominated by Abraham Benedict and his furniture factory. The business is successful and the Benedicts' are kind to their employees and families. Through a series of events, Marie ends up an orphan and goes to live at the Big House as a companion to Mrs. Benedict. Everything is wonderful except for their troubled son, Abie. The Benedicts are very lenient with their son, regardless of the trouble he causes. Marie's life is filled with adventure. At different times in her life, she lives with gypsies, rides the rail, is a nurse for veterans, and a teacher. As usual, the landscape is a major character in this novel. Mosher does a wonderful job of describing the landscape of northern New England and the seasonal changes. I definitely plan to read more of his novels.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Martha

    Howard Frank Mosher tells an excellent story. His characters are human if somewhat improbable and he truly loves the northeast Kingdom. It is a rich setting, populated by unique characters around which he develops a captivating plot. Marie Blythe is a’ this best, but anything by this author doesn’t disappoint. The reader is entirely captivated entering on of his books and this is no different.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    Enjoyed the main character and always enjoy learning history from a different vantage point. Certainly never gave any thought to French Canadians settling Vermont! Bet people from the area really enjoyed it as well. Was prepared to give the book 4 stars but the ending got a little outrageous, not a fan when things are wrapped up in an inexplicably bizarre manner (leave that for real life).

  11. 5 out of 5

    Theresafic

    Interesting book. Well-written character Marie, but the last 20-30 pages turned me off. I guess everything had to be all wrapped up in a bow, although personally, I don’t think the story needed it. The Captain and Abbie turned into grotesque non people, gothic characters. It really had a sense of place and time.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ro

    Powerful Woman Enjoyed reading about how this girl turned into such a strong woman. The historical fiction of New England added a lot of color. With very interesting cast of characters.

  13. 5 out of 5

    L

    didn't finish didn't finish

  14. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    This book made me a fan of Howard Frank Mosher.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Zadok Roiger

    ewdsf

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Jones

    Great adventure This was an interesting and well-written book. Down to earth, no holes barred, it tells of life in the back woods on the boarder of Canada.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    Took me awhile to get into this book. It had its ups and downs, but overall worthwhile read. The ending was a little odd.

  18. 4 out of 5

    S. Nichols

    Having lived in Vermont, it was fascinating. I loved his descriptions and like that he incorporates so many facts in his writing.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alec Hastings

    If you want to get the flavor of rural northern Vermont a hundred years ago, you can't do any better than Marie Blythe. Hard Scrabble was the right publisher because Mosher writes about hard scrabble people living in a hard scrabble time. It took guts and ingenuity to survive in Vermont after the Civil War, and people like Captain Benedict, Pia the Gypsy, Jigger Johnson, and Marie herself had guts and ingenuity in spades. The story is about Marie's odyssey. Like Homer's hero, Marie just wants to If you want to get the flavor of rural northern Vermont a hundred years ago, you can't do any better than Marie Blythe. Hard Scrabble was the right publisher because Mosher writes about hard scrabble people living in a hard scrabble time. It took guts and ingenuity to survive in Vermont after the Civil War, and people like Captain Benedict, Pia the Gypsy, Jigger Johnson, and Marie herself had guts and ingenuity in spades. The story is about Marie's odyssey. Like Homer's hero, Marie just wants to go home, but first she has to figure out where home is. At the beginning of the novel, Marie and her parents flee a smallpox outbreak in Quebec which has taken the lives of Marie's four siblings. Her father Claude finds work in Captain Benedict's furniture factory on the shores of Lake Memphremagog, but when her father and mother also die, Marie decamps with the gypsies that periodically appear in the town of Hell's Gate. Her adventures take her east into the logging country of the Upper Connecticut Valley and eventually to a tuberculosis sanatorium where she becomes a nurse. When finally Marie decides to return to Hell's Gate after years of exile, she does, at last, feel the joy of returning home. That joy is short-lived, however. Captain Benedict has died, and his son, Abie, is now in charge of the factory where Marie takes employment. Marie is not sure why, but this makes her uneasy. Abie has a cruel streak she knows well from when they were children. There seems to be no sign of that evil now, but Marie senses trouble, and she's got a nose for it. If you're looking for a story that will transport you to the woods and villages of the early 1900s, that will put you in the company of some especially colorful characters, and that will never bog down, pull this one off the shelf. It's a darned good read! Love Mosher's tales!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    This was an okay read but I expected more re the protagonist's French Canadian roots. In fact, she comes to Vermont at a very young age and her origins have little effect on her life after the first few chapters. I enjoyed the book. That said, IMO it reads like better-quality popular fiction and no more. This was an okay read but I expected more re the protagonist's French Canadian roots. In fact, she comes to Vermont at a very young age and her origins have little effect on her life after the first few chapters. I enjoyed the book. That said, IMO it reads like better-quality popular fiction and no more.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    Frank Howard Mosher is one of my favorite Vermont writers. Lots of Vermont and Canadian history deftly intertwined with plots relevant to the times he is writing about, and complex characters that " stay with you". Frank Howard Mosher is one of my favorite Vermont writers. Lots of Vermont and Canadian history deftly intertwined with plots relevant to the times he is writing about, and complex characters that " stay with you".

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    I thought this was well written and I liked the descriptions of the area and people w/a little history tossed in.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    The first Howard Frank Mosher book I read. It is set in VT and is very informative about the first half of the 1900's in northeastern Vt near the Canadian border. The first Howard Frank Mosher book I read. It is set in VT and is very informative about the first half of the 1900's in northeastern Vt near the Canadian border.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Janice

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jan

  26. 4 out of 5

    andrea

  27. 4 out of 5

    Leips

  28. 5 out of 5

    jane hanano

  29. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

  30. 4 out of 5

    Don

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