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Then There Were Five by Elizabeth Enright

Then There Were Five (1944)

by Elizabeth Enright

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468622,128 (4.34)14



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Parts of this book were very powerful and/or very amusing, but the gender roles seem to be getting more strict now that the girls are getting older, and I find that a little wearing. It's extra wearing since I recognize that in our household, I tend to reinforce these gender stereotypes by doing most of the cooking and cleaning, not because it's my duty as a woman to cook and clean but just because people are hungry and things are messy and someone's got to do something about it. The result is the same, though, I fear. ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Jul 29, 2015 |
The third the Melendy series after The Saturdays and The Four-Story Mistake. In the same rural WW2 home front setting as Four Story Mistake. A fifth child is adopted into the family after the death of his evil guardian, which is a bit grim for a children's book.. This is the actual copy of the book I read as a child which I managed to get when the library discarded it. ( )
  antiquary | Aug 31, 2013 |
Practically perfect, especially at the beginning of summer. I want a kitchen full of glowing canned goods, and a well full of gentians. I love, love, love this book. And we get to see Randy writing TATSINDA!

This is without a doubt my favorite Melendy book, what with all the botanizing. And the excitement of meeting Mark, and the evil Oren. The Melendy kids are a little more grown-up, and their world is so lovely that one wishes one could walk inside the pages and sleep in the cupola. Even the spectre of the war, which has taken Father to Washington for the duration, doesn't tarnish the magic.

Enright's writing is lyrical and almost transcendent in places. Her ability to see to the heart of a person is magical, and unlike so many new writers, she peers into good and loving hearts. She looks deeply at the people one wants to know, and more importantly, the people one wants to be.

It's because of Enright I can't look at a gentian without thinking of wells.

Some lines:

"Used-to doesn't mean anything any more, Randy. The used-to-world is all cut away from us now; floating away in the distance like a balloon or a bubble. It isn't real any longer. Perhaps it's a good thing that it's gone. I hope so."

"Floating out of the dark, knocking against the overhang, came something so beautiful, so fairylike that Oliver hardly dared to breathe. The thing was a moth, but like no other moth that he had seen. Its wings were as wide as his two hands opened out, as frail as a pair of petals, and colored a pale, pale green: a moonlit silvery green." ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
Beautifully narrated, which is such a relief. One worries, especially when old favorites are at stake.

I love this book best of any of Enright's work, which is saying a lot. It's a perfectly splendid book, full of botany (gentians!), fauna (luna moth! bats!), the best children ever, the most congenial adults, and most of all, Enright's tender, lyrical, transcendent prose. Do yourself a favor- read, re-read or listen to this one right away.

"Used-to doesn't mean anything any more, Randy. The used-to-world is all cut away from us now; floating away in the distance like a balloon or a bubble. It isn't real any longer. Perhaps it's a good thing that it's gone. I hope so." ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
Although written 70 years ago, this story of the four Melendy siblings' summer adventures in the countryside captivated my girls. Several elements were so old fashioned that I could only describe them by hearsay (telephone operators that connected and listened in on calls, horse and carriage rides, war rations), but the story of the siblings embarking on summer projects, befriending a boy with an abusive cousin, and figuring out the meaning of courage and friendship was timeless. I liked the old-fashioned touches that reminded me of a more innocent era (for example, the extent of the swear words are "Jeepers!" and "Golly!"). The girls loved this so much we are now going back to the beginning of the series and listening to the rest of the books. (This review was of the audio book) ( )
  sylliu | Jul 8, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805070621, Hardcover)

With the arrival of Mark Herron, an orphan whom the Melendys befriend in their usual wholehearted way, a summer already full of happenings reaches yet another level of richness and fun.

"All summer!" said Rush, with his mouth full. "Think of it. All summer long."
"All summer what?" Mona wanted to know.
"Just all summer," Rush said happily. "I mean this is only the beginning of it. Dams and swimming and the garden and picnics and hot days and all. Oh, boy."
"Sometimes it will rain. And sometimes we'll get stomach-aches. And sometimes Cuffy will be cross," said Oliver realistically.
Rush laughed. "A pessimist at seven."

With Father in Washington and Cuffy away visiting a sick cousin, almost anything might happen to the Melendys left behind at the Four-Story Mistake. In the Melendy family, adventures are inevitable: Mr Titus and the catfish; the villainy of the DeLacey brothers; Rush's composition of Opus 3; Mona's first rhubarb pie and all the canning; Randy's arrowhead; the auction and fair for the Red Cross. But best of all is the friendship with Mark Herron which begins with a scrap-collection mission and comes to a grand climax on Oliver's birthday.
Here is Elizabeth Enright's story of a long and glorious summer in the country with the Melendy family.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:26 -0400)

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A summer that promises to be eventful turns into something extra special when the four Melendy children become friends with the orphaned Mark Heron.

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