My summer reading continued this week with Charles Dickens' Bleak House.
This is the first time I've read this one, and now I think it might be my favorite Dickens book. The plot is elaborate and filled with unexpected twists and turns.
Young Esther grows up knowing that she has somehow shamed her mother, whom she never knew. She falls into happy circumstances when a benefactor steps forward to provide for her education and subsequent position as a companion to his ward Ada. This benefactor, John Jarndyce, is embroiled in a lawsuit which has been held up in court for years with no settlement in sight. He is a noble character, like a perfect reformed Ebenezer Scrooge, bent on assisting everyone who comes within his sphere of influence.
The scenes of happy home life are pleasant to read and reveal much of Dickens' sentimental character and ideals. He is merciless with some of the parents depicted, however, and their beastly behavior is shocking and humorous.
Will the lawsuit ever be finished? Will Esther ever discover her true parentage? Will she find love and happiness at last? The ending is both surprising and satisfying. Five stars. A great read.
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