I did not grow up with Gene Stratton-Porter. I didn’t even discover her while I was still homeschooling my children. I had seen A Girl of the Limberlost on book lists for years before I finally decided to find out why it was always there. Now I know, and I think I’ve read all of Stratton-Porter’s fiction.
Gene Stratton-Porter was a naturalist, a storyteller, a teacher, a lover of people and of her country. She was a watchman on the wall warning of the disintegration of morals and education in the country she loved.
Freckles was her first novel, published in 1904. As with almost everything she wrote, one of the major themes is nature. In Freckles, the Limberlost Swamp in particular. Some of her recurring themes are introduced here: integrity, honor, tenacity, loyalty, vocation, and the importance of a good reputation. By creating lovable characters, Stratton-Porter builds herself platforms for teaching without being heavy-handedly didactic.
In an article called “Broken Promises,” she wrote, “A mind that is conscious of its integrity scorns to say more than it means to perform.” She laments that, at the time she wrote the article, in the 1920s, fewer and fewer people were finding it necessary to keep their word, which she considered one of the greatest evils in the country. Timely, no?
In the midst of a crisis, the Angel says of our hero, “A promise means so much more to you than it does to most men.” Freckles is a born gentleman, worthy of our sons’ emulation.
Stratton-Porter builds her platform with all the elements of a great story. An orphan eager to make his way in the world, a beautiful and innocent girl, a mustache-twirling bad guy, thieves, danger, mystery, narrow escapes, and loyal love.
Read Freckles with us if you already love him. Read it with us if you’ve not yet been introduced. We’ll be so happy for you to get to know him. Details about our Freckles book club and a free give away we are doing can be found here.