Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc.
At the death of her father, newly orphaned Peggy Grahame is sent to live with her reclusive Uncle Enos, whom she’s never met, and who lives at the family’s ancestral estate in New York, a place her father’s never mentioned. Apparently it is haunted by the Grahame Revolutionary era ancestors, and Enos is bitter they’ve never appeared to him. But before she can even reach Rest-and-be-Thankful, a mysterious jewel-eyed girl in a crimson cape directs her to a young British scholar that will show her the way to the house. She is caught off guard by Uncle Enos cold reception of her, but more baffled by his flat objection to her new acquaintance Pat Thorne and his refusal to offer an explanation. But she is soon caught up in the history of the house and its former residents, which led exciting and romantic lives as officers and spies during the war.
I was reading More Book Lust when I came across this classic YA novel by Elizabeth Marie Pope. It sounded like the perfect, fun blend of history, mystery, and romance. At first the ghost element turned me off, but once you get into the lives of officers like lofty Colonel Richard Grahame, teasing Eleanor Shipley, spirited Barbara Grahame and the dashing British ex-officer Peaceable Drummond Sherwood (my favorite), the historical stories within Peggy’s story nearly eclipse whatever’s going on in the contemporary world. Sherwood is a modern, Revolutionary-era Robin Hood, who lives in the Martin Wood surrounding Rest-and-be-Thankful and leads a loose band of marauders outsmarting General George Washington himself. How could anyone not be charmed by him? The situations he puts poor Colonel Grahame in are quite amusing, as well as those with Barbara, who matches Sherwood in wits. They turn out to be just what Peggy needs to navigate her own relationship with Pat and discover his history and how their ancestor’s connect. As a result, the conclusion of The Sherwood Ring is very sweet and rewarding. Immediately after I finished I went out to get The Perilous Gard, which I liked even more. I just wish Ms. Pope had written more books.