Official Review: Betsy and Catherine : An Uncommon Friend...

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
Forum rules
Authors and publishers are not able to post replies in the review topics.
User avatar
Prisallen
Posts: 3820
Joined: 27 Feb 2019, 18:57
2019 Reading Goal: 104
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 69
Favorite Book:
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 143
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-prisallen.html
Latest Review: The Killing of Faith by William Holms

Official Review: Betsy and Catherine : An Uncommon Friend...

Post by Prisallen »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Betsy and Catherine : An Uncommon Friendship" by Helen Gailey.]
Book Cover
3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


Although Betsy and Catherine were from different social classes in 18th-century London, England, they grew up as best friends. Betsy’s parents worked for Catherine’s parents, and Betsy eventually worked as Catherine’s lady’s maid. Catherine was always adventurous and willful, and part of Betsy’s job involved trying to keep her reined in.

Catherine, being bored because her husband was abroad, decided to dress up as a poor person and visit the impoverished area of town to observe how the destitute population lived. Betsy tried to talk her out of it but failed. Knowing that Catherine would go without her, Betsy accompanied her. However, events took a terrible turn. Because it appeared that Catherine was trying to steal some material, they were beaten and ultimately arrested. An unscrupulous judge sentenced them to be imprisoned and then sent to Australia. Will they be capable of surviving the hardships of their imprisonment, their journey, and their servitude in Australia? Will Catherine’s husband be able to locate and rescue them?

Betsy and Catherine: An Uncommon Friendship by Helen Gailey is a 227-page novel, with a gripping storyline, that is listed as historical fiction. The descriptive prose is easy to understand. It is written as a combination of Betsy’s first-person point of view and Catherine’s journal. This makes it easy to understand their thoughts and actions and immerse ourselves in their lives, both before and after the arrests.

Superb character development represents my favorite part of the story. Catherine was an entitled aristocrat who suddenly lost her privileged lifestyle and was demoted to an impoverished convict. She anguished about placing Betsy in this situation. We get to watch her evolve and change throughout the story. However, Betsy was my favorite character. She was courageous, optimistic, faithful, and loving. She continued to look after and defend Catherine. Their friendship demonstrates what love should be like.

The author grew up in Australia and had an interest in the history of Australia and England. She clearly researched the past for this novel. I did not know about the history of England’s convicts being transported to Australia. I also didn’t realize how badly the impoverished people and the convicts were mistreated in those days. Something as minor as a mother stealing life-sustaining food or clothing for her starving and freezing children could cause her to be sentenced to a life of imprisonment or shipped to Australia. The women sometimes were separated from their families; at other times, the children were sent with her. It definitely was an eyeopener.

However, not everything was satisfactory. There were several problems observed while reading. First, the section where Betsy was hired as Catherine’s lady’s maid was first told on page 16 and then repeated on page 21. As this was several paragraphs long, it stood out. There were also quite a few punctuation and grammatical errors, with the majority being punctuation. Several times, there were two periods at the end of sentences. Missing commas between dialogue tags and the dialogue happened on many occasions. In addition, vocatives in conversations frequently did not have commas. An example is, “The baron spoke directly to me when he said ‘We can’t help but notice Betsy that you and Catherine have formed a friendship.’” This should be written as “The baron spoke directly to me when he said, ‘We can’t help but notice, Betsy, that you and Catherine have formed a friendship.’” This was my least favorite part of the book.

This fascinating and informative novel achieves a rating of three out of four stars. One star is deducted due to the aforementioned issues. I think it is too intriguing to receive a two-star rating. I heartily recommend it for readers who enjoy historical fiction. There were occasional mild profanities and some violence encountered in the story. Therefore, it is unsuitable for young children. Sensitive readers need to consider it as well.

******
Betsy and Catherine : An Uncommon Friendship
View: on Bookshelves | on Barnes and Noble

User avatar
Eutoc
Posts: 370
Joined: 15 Sep 2020, 01:39
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 18
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-eutoc.html
Latest Review: Murdering the macho managers by Ben reuben

Post by Eutoc »

Betsy must be unlucky to have gotten into trouble because of Catherina. I sense an intense drama in this book.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

User avatar
AnnOgochukwu
Posts: 585
Joined: 20 Mar 2020, 09:22
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 91
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-annogochukwu.html
Latest Review: Our Autumn Years by Arthur Hartz

Post by AnnOgochukwu »

I find it funny that Caterina gets into deep trouble the moment she steps outside her privileged world. I sense a lot of adventure and history in this story, and I'm curious to learn how things turned out.
I enjoyed reading your review, it was interesting.
Live and let live, baby.

User avatar
raluca_mihaila
Posts: 400
Joined: 03 Aug 2020, 14:52
2019 Reading Goal: 50
Favorite Book: The Brothers Karamazov
Currently Reading: My Name is Red
Bookshelf Size: 66
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-raluca-mihaila.html
Latest Review: The Tales of Little Lady M by Diego Di Mauro

Post by raluca_mihaila »

Thank your your dedicated and interesting review! Despite the mentioned problems, it seems like a quite an interesting read.

Miller56
Posts: 437
Joined: 22 Jul 2019, 19:30
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 50
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-miller56.html
Latest Review: Ruby by Cathy Coburn

Post by Miller56 »

Thanks for the review. I didn't realize people were sent to Australia to be servants when they were punished for a crime. This review makes me wonder how the friendship survived. I look forward to reading this book.
Latest Review: Ruby by Cathy Coburn

Chigo Nwagboso
Posts: 434
Joined: 28 Aug 2020, 15:03
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 24
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-chigo-nwagboso.html
Latest Review: The Last Minder by Fish Phillips

Post by Chigo Nwagboso »

Wow! What could have led to her into taking what doesn't belong to her? I pray she comes out of it safely. Great review.

User avatar
Pluma
Posts: 132
Joined: 17 May 2020, 22:36
Favorite Book: Wonks
Currently Reading: Salami Leh Beirut
Bookshelf Size: 29
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-pluma.html
Latest Review: Daniel Kossov - Pictures of an Outstanding Musician by Rosemary Ellen Tingley

Post by Pluma »

The main characters in this book sound interesting, and I would be excited to see where their adventures land them. It’s a pity about the errors, but it still sounds like a good read. Thanks for the great review!

User avatar
MrsCatInTheHat
Bookshelves Moderator
Posts: 3187
Joined: 31 May 2016, 11:53
2019 Reading Goal: 75
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 32
Favorite Book: Cry the Beloved Country
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 501
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-mrscatinthehat.html
Latest Review: The Stages of Rot by Eden Tijerina
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU
Publishing Contest Votes: 0

Post by MrsCatInTheHat »

Miller56 wrote:
20 Nov 2020, 10:26
Thanks for the review. I didn't realize people were sent to Australia to be servants when they were punished for a crime. This review makes me wonder how the friendship survived. I look forward to reading this book.
This is how Britain colonized Australia. It was quite common.
Life without a good book is something the CatInTheHat cannot imagine.

User avatar
sanjus
Posts: 1850
Joined: 08 May 2018, 12:47
2019 Reading Goal: 21
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 100
2018 Reading Goal: 25
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 56
Currently Reading: Charles' Story
Bookshelf Size: 375
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-sanjus.html
Latest Review: The Roving Mind: A Modern Approach to Cognitive Enhancement by Anthony Simola
Reading Device: B00I15SB16

Post by sanjus »

The story appears a bit somewhat different where there is deep friendship between a lady and her maid. Surprisingly both of them sent to jail for the uncalled act of the lady.
The story appears interesting to me. Thanks for your nice review.
life is only knowing the unknown, we can do this by reading books easily- I believe this is my own quote. If someone quoted this before I am glad to know.

User avatar
Saint Bruno
Posts: 783
Joined: 28 Aug 2020, 14:47
Favorite Author: Agatha Christie
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 45
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-saint-bruno.html
Latest Review: Birth of a Unicorn by Heather Wilde
fav_author_id: 2484

Post by Saint Bruno »

I like the plot of the book. It reminds me of The Prince and the Pauper. Thanks for the awesome review and recommendation.

User avatar
Mbrooks2518
Posts: 1139
Joined: 08 Dec 2018, 16:37
2019 Reading Goal: 100
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 51
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 321
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-mbrooks2518.html
Latest Review: Crimson at Cape May by Randy Overbeck

Post by Mbrooks2518 »

Betsy and Catherine sound like interesting characters. I wonder how things end for them?
Great review!

User avatar
Prisallen
Posts: 3820
Joined: 27 Feb 2019, 18:57
2019 Reading Goal: 104
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 69
Favorite Book:
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 143
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-prisallen.html
Latest Review: The Killing of Faith by William Holms

Post by Prisallen »

Eutoc wrote:
20 Nov 2020, 05:23
Betsy must be unlucky to have gotten into trouble because of Catherina. I sense an intense drama in this book.
Yes, she was, but she never mentioned it to Catherine. That's why I loved her character.

User avatar
Prisallen
Posts: 3820
Joined: 27 Feb 2019, 18:57
2019 Reading Goal: 104
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 69
Favorite Book:
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 143
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-prisallen.html
Latest Review: The Killing of Faith by William Holms

Post by Prisallen »

AnnOgochukwu wrote:
20 Nov 2020, 07:18
I find it funny that Caterina gets into deep trouble the moment she steps outside her privileged world. I sense a lot of adventure and history in this story, and I'm curious to learn how things turned out.
I enjoyed reading your review, it was interesting.
I hope you get a chance to read it. Thanks for stopping by!

User avatar
Prisallen
Posts: 3820
Joined: 27 Feb 2019, 18:57
2019 Reading Goal: 104
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 69
Favorite Book:
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 143
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-prisallen.html
Latest Review: The Killing of Faith by William Holms

Post by Prisallen »

raluca_mihaila wrote:
20 Nov 2020, 07:43
Thank your your dedicated and interesting review! Despite the mentioned problems, it seems like a quite an interesting read.
It was, indeed. I hope you get a chance to try it out. Thanks for stopping by!

User avatar
Prisallen
Posts: 3820
Joined: 27 Feb 2019, 18:57
2019 Reading Goal: 104
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 69
Favorite Book:
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 143
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-prisallen.html
Latest Review: The Killing of Faith by William Holms

Post by Prisallen »

Miller56 wrote:
20 Nov 2020, 10:26
Thanks for the review. I didn't realize people were sent to Australia to be servants when they were punished for a crime. This review makes me wonder how the friendship survived. I look forward to reading this book.
I didn't know that either. I do enjoy historical fiction when it is written well; one can learn and be entertained at the same time. :D

Post Reply

Return to “Historical Fiction”