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Elizabeth Enright

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Elizabeth Enright

Postby Chrissie777 » 07 Feb 2017, 20:39

Split from 'What other author are you reading at the moment?'


When I was 10 or 11 years old, I read a lovely book by US children books author Elizabeth Enright, "The Sea is all around" (1940). I just started re-reading it again this afternoon.
It's about a 10 year old American girl, an orphan, who stays with one aunt in Iowa, then gets transferred to another aunt who lives on the isle of Nantucket (the isle has a different, fictitious name in the book, but it's clearly Nantucket).
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Re: Elizabeth Enright

Postby sixret » 10 Feb 2017, 17:26

I am a fan of Elizabeth Enright, Chrissie. I first bought The Four Story Mistakes in Puffin edition not knowing whether the book was good or not and read it and have been hooked ever since. Naturally, I bought the rest of the titles in the series, The Saturdays and Then There Were Five. The stories are about Melandy family and their ups and downs. They are in the same vein as House At The Corner and Family At The Red Roofs but a bit lighthearted and no complicated plots. I also enjoyed reading her other series i.e. Gone Away Lake series. It's a mystery cum adventure with a bit of science fiction and horror(unsettling events) elements. These stories are aimed for children. Both series are highly entertaining and I highly recommend them!

One more book titled Thimble Summer. Again, a very good book! A girl Recommended

I bought Melandy series in Puffin edition from UK.

I bought Gone Away Lake series and Thinble Summer in Scholastic editions from US.

I still do not have three of her books:

1) Spiderweb For Two( the last book in the Melandy Family quartet. I don't think it has been published in Puffin edition)

2) The Sea Is All Around

3) Tatsinda

Elizabeth Enright's prose and writings are excellent. The stories flow just like Enid Blyton. Very fluid. No unnecessary long-winded descriptions that will slow down the stories motion.
KIFARAH & KARMA- What goes around comes around.


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Re: Elizabeth Enright

Postby timv » 11 Feb 2017, 10:01

I read 'The Saturdays', and later 'The Four Storey Mistake' in the Puffin editions when I was about nine and thought them first-class. The main characters and their interaction were very realistic and sympathetic, particularly the 'middle two' in age of the four - Randy (Miranda) and Rush (a name I've never come across anywhere else). It was also good to see the 'inner life' and imaginings of each of the four explored rather than just having a series of stories, and we see their private ambitions for the future and insecurities. The eldest, Mona, initially seemed a bit bossy and 'superior' but turned out to be insecure and muddled about growing up too.

I did get a bit confused on first reading them as to what date they were set in, and had to check the publication dates, due to the occasional mentions of the Second World War (housekeeper 'Cuffy' told one of the girls in 'The Saturdays' that fussing over a ruined hairdo was not right when people in Europe were in the middle of a massive war). The New York of the first book also seemed a bit law-abiding compared to what I had seen of it on TV - eg as 'Gotham City' in the 1960s 'Batman' - which always implied it was full of gun crime, with the children able to wander about Manhattan with no danger.
Two Elizabeth Enright similarities to Enid's Famous Five stories - the lighthouse where the family stay at the end of 'The Saturdays' and an episode where an elderly family friend tells Randy (I think) that she was kidnapped as a child by gypsies, in the best Blyton manner. There is also a circus to visit.
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Re: Elizabeth Enright

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 11 Feb 2017, 10:17

The Saturdays is the only Elizabeth Enright book I've read but I enjoyed it very much and I'd like to try some more of her work one of these days. The attic where the Melendy children play sounds brilliant and I love the way we get to know each of the children through their individual Saturday "adventures".
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Re: Elizabeth Enright

Postby Chrissie777 » 11 Feb 2017, 14:09

sixret wrote:I am a fan of Elizabeth Enright, Chrissie. I first bought The Four Story Mistakes in Puffin edition not knowing whether the book was good or not and read it and have been hooked ever since. Naturally, I bought the rest of the titles in the series, The Saturdays and Then There Were Five. The stories are about Melandy family and their ups and downs. I also enjoyed reading her other series i.e. Gone Away Lake series. It's a mystery cum adventure with a bit of science fiction and horror(unsettling events) elements.


Sixret, yes, I do feel the same: Enright's prose is excellent and like EB she creates lots of atmosphere with few words/sentences (Patricia Highsmith was good at that as well).

To be honest, I didn't care for "Tatsinda" or "Thimble Summer" which I read before I finally discovered "The Sea is all around" which is my favorite EE book. From what I remember I must have read "The Saturdays" next (and then the other 3 Melendy sequels) and really enjoyed how the Melendy children pooled their meager allowance, so each sibling could have a fun Saturday in Manhattan on it's own. I vaguely remember that in one of the sequels they move to a house in the country.
What fascinated me about "The Saturdays" was the fact that it describes life in Manhattan in the early 1940's.

The two Gone Away Lake books are great, too.

Here's more on Enright's life and work, she also wrote an autobiography, but I still have to read it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Enright

Check this out, sixret, hopefully it will help with finding "Spiderweb...":

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i ... 1TB6TXOOKL
Last edited by Chrissie777 on 15 Feb 2017, 13:04, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Elizabeth Enright

Postby Chrissie777 » 11 Feb 2017, 14:16

Anita Bensoussane wrote:The Saturdays is the only Elizabeth Enright book I've read but I enjoyed it very much and I'd like to try some more of her work one of these days. The attic where the Melendy children play sounds brilliant and I love the way we get to know each of the children through their individual Saturday "adventures".


Anita, thank you for creating this threat 8) .
I hope more EBS members will share their EE opinions. Or discover her books for the first time.
I highly recommend reading "The Sea is all around". Liked it even more than "The Saturdays" or "Gone Away Lake", my other EE favorites.
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Re: Elizabeth Enright

Postby sixret » 15 Feb 2017, 12:04

Thank you, Chrissie. I won't buy Tatsinda based on your review. I hope to buy Spiderweb in Puffin edition so that it is similar with the rest of the series.
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Re: Elizabeth Enright

Postby Chrissie777 » 16 Feb 2017, 19:57

You're very welcome :), sixret.
I bought the old German hardcover translations from the 1950's last year, because they have much better illustrations (the kind of illustrations that I remember from my childhood when I read them first), but I also have them in English by Puffin, because the 4th Melendy book was never translated into German as far as I know.

And I finally finished reading "The Sea is all around us" (funny, in the German masthead they listed it as "The Sea is all around", so that's how I memorized it all these years :roll:) and except of the last rather lame chapter (about a flower opening her blossoms) it was a very compelling book. Even decades later. Some things never change. :D
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