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From the Back Cover
In this book a homeless waif finds his deliverance in the primeval Limberlost swamp. Maimed and abandoned as an infant, Freckles seeks a chance to prove his worth. He is given that opportunity as the guard of the precious timber of the Limberlost. In his stewardship of the woods, he finds happiness in the companionship of the birds and other wild creatures and in the love of the beautiful Swamp Angel. This moving story of courage and virtue will warm the hearts of young and old. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Gene (born Geneva) Stratton-Porter is one of Indiana's most famous authors. She was an independent woman, an accomplished naturalist, and a born storyteller. Born near Wabash, Indiana, she died in a streetcar accident in Los Angeles at the height of her movie production career. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
So once I got older and bought my own Kindle subscription, I was tired of the several modern valueless stories I've been reading lately and looked for The Girl of the Limberlost. I was pleased to find Freckles was a recommended book!! Now I finally understand why the Limberlost characters loved him so much! And now I love him too!
A very wholesome read although I still think The Girl of the Limberlost is a bit better, if only because it has more character development and story. Still, Freckles is great and I highly recommend it!
Freckles was published in 1904. The story of the female author is interesting and worthy of a few minutes of your time. A few things I will share that are important to know about her that relate to this novel are that Stratton-Porter lived near the Limberlost Swamp in Indiana, which is the setting of this story. She was a naturalist and nature lover and was concerned over loss of habitat of the swamp; her love of the birds and wild creatures is evident in this book. Some elements of her own life are idential to the books' character: "Bird Woman".
Freckles is the main character, a twenty year old man, an orphan raised in an orphanage and whose former foster parents abused him. Freckles has only one hand, a problem that makes finding paid employment difficult. Being poorly educated did not allow him to find work in certain career fields. He is homeless at the start of the story and winds up being hired by a lumber company owner to guard the Limberlost Swamp from tree poachers for a year before the trees will be harvested.
Several times daily Freckles must hike the perimeter of the fenced in swamp. He spends all his time alone and soon comes to befriend the birds and wild creatures of the swamp. He rents a room in the home of an empty nester couple and they become parent figures to Freckles, especially the woman as a positive mother figure. The lumber company owner also takes a liking to him and becomes a father figure.
Later Freckles comes to know Bird Woman, a naturalist who takes bird photographs and publishes articles about birds and a sixteen year old girl who is referred to as Angel. He falls in love with Angel. Later poachers come to the swamp to try to steal the trees. There is some action and adventure as Freckles tries to defend the property he is paid to protect. An accident occurs. Freckles is still unhappy about his past and hates thinking that his parents abused him so badly that it caused the loss of his hand. I can't tell you more or the story will be spoiled.
While the book has some progressive ideas with its two powerful and strong female characters (which is fine by me) it otherwise is an old-fashioned book with characters full of positive character traits. The Bad Guys are clearly full of sin and devoid of worthy character traits, it's all quite black and white. I can see why so many Christian homeschoolers have their children read books by Stratton-Porter.
My only complaint is the romantic love part is a bit saccharine and predictable, but I let this go since I did enjoy the story. This is also a G rated tale, something else that most parents will like. The peck kisses near the end are pretty tame by today's standards!
The book is infused with an appreciation for wild plants, trees, and wild creatures. One unresolved problem for me was that Freckles came to love the swamp but how much destruction his father figure lumber company owner will inflict on the swamp was skirted. It was briefly stated that the land may wind up being clear cut and used for farm land, which is what happened in real life to The Limberlost Swamp. I felt that Freckles should have been angry or worried about this issue.
This book is available as a free eBook download from Amazon.com. You probably can read it free online somewhere. It is also available as a softcover book.
I rate this book 5 stars = I Love It.
Gene Stratton-Porter also wrote A Girl of the Limberlost which has a naturalist girl main character also set in The Limberlost Swamp so if you have a girl or want to read more about the swamp, check out that book.
So when I was offered an opportunity to get <i>Freckles</i> free at Amazon (through FreebookSifter.com), the memories came flooding back and I immediately downloaded it. Written in 1904 - well before my time and my mother's - I expected it to be a bit stilted in language and with, because of Stratton-Porter's conservationist leanings, a bit of Rachel Carson thrown in.
That it was, and more; it certainly is reflective of a time when the "upper-crust" ruled and anyone without a well-documented family pedigree virtually was a non-person. That theme, almost above all else, came through loud and clear in this book, which follows the adventures of Freckles, a young man who was orphaned as an infant (missing a hand that had been cut off). Now grown, he's earned the favor of a man who owns a lumber company and is charged with protecting the valuable trees in the Limberlost - a stretch of swamp now owned by the company. Soon, a beautiful young woman enters - dubbed the "Angel" because of her love and acceptance of every living thing regardless of "station" in life. The story then follows their adventures in trying to protect the trees, the swamp and all the creatures living within it as well as development of Angel's relationship with Freckles, who sees himself as (in modern-day terms) a total loser because he's missing both a hand and the aforesaid pedigree.
The dialogue is, in fact, a bit difficult, especially given the language of the day and Freckles' rather thick Irish brogue. Presumably, Stratton-Porter borrowed the latter from her Irish husband, but we have no idea where Freckles picked it up, since he was deposited in an English orphanage as a baby and had no interaction with anyone Irish until he was grown up (a mystery that bothers me and not a few other reviewers).
As I read along, I also kept waiting for something truly awful to happen (a box of tissues was at my elbow throughout). But this really isn't a tear-jerker; and I was more inclined, given the times in which I live, to want to smack the characters upside the head than feel sorry about their belief that circumstances dictated their destinies. But that was then, and this is now - something readers must keep in mind throughout. If you view the book as a love story between two young people and an environment they both love, it's well written and poignant.