First off, I love the story of this company. Salem Ridge Press is a publishing company that brings books written in the 1800s-early 1900s back into print. The company is committed to finding books that are well written and showcase high moral values (no twaddle). I received three books from this company to review: 2 were in e-book form and the other was a paperback. Two of the books I loved and the other was a complete flop.
The paperback copy that I received was Soldier Fritz by Emma Leslie ($10.95, recommended for ages 8-adult). This is a book that is set in Germany during the Reformation so it deals with (what I consider to be) a difficult topic. I am not very religious myself, but I do not enjoy reading stories where I feel that any religion is being bashed. This book was extremely anti-catholic and aside from that, I did not feel that it was well written. The story line was not engaging and I felt that the author could have been much more descriptive. From the very beginning of this book, I felt that there was always an “agenda” included. So, here are two examples of what I am talking about.
From page 41: “she saw now that it was not right to kneel and pray to the Virgin Mary instead of the Lord Jesus, or confess her sins to a priest instead of God…”
From page 44: “…struggle Luther was waging – the battle of light against darkness, truth against error and superstition.”
The other two books I read after reading Soldier Fritz and I was dreading them. But, they were both absolutely wonderful.
The first book, Mary Jane – Her Visit by Clara Ingram Judson ($12.95), is a delightful tale about a young girl that goes to visit her grandparents on their farm. She has some wonderful adventures and enjoys helping out with the farm chores. This book is recommended for ages 6-10, but I believe that I would read it whenever you were comfortable reading Winnie the Pooh to your child. This is definitely a must read for little girls (a bit sexist on my part, I know).
Incidentally, this book is part of a series that you can find in the public domain. The publisher (Salem Ridge Press) has edited it a bit from the original to the form that they have available on their website.
The second book was The American Twins of the Revolution by Lucy Fitch Perkins ($12.95). It is a mostly true story set during the American Revolution that showcases the courage and patriotism of two children and their mother. This was actually a page turner for me and I stayed up quite late one night so that I could finish this book the same night that I started it! I highly recommend this book to anyone that is covering the American Revolution this year in their studies. The recommended age range is 8-adult and that is about right since the slave language can be a bit difficult to decipher.
This book is also one of a series that can be found in the public domain.
Overall, if you are a person that loves to peruse Google Books for old books, then you definitely want to check out this company. I think that what they are doing is absolutely wonderful and aside from the first book that I read, these books truly are a breath of fresh air from the general “children’s literature” that is currently being churned out.
I recieved the copies of these books free of charge in order to write an honest review as a member of The Old Schoolhouse Crew. I did not receive any other compensation.