Betty Cavanna Ruth Hill Viguers - Essay

Ruth Hill Viguers

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The understanding and skillful interpretation of present-day teen-age girls that so characterizes this author's work marks also her entrance into the field of historical fiction…. [A Touch of Magic is a] moral tale certainly, and there is a tendency to allow details of setting to slow up the story, but there are interesting contrasts in the historical background and evidence that Miss Cavanna can write with depth and compassion. (p. 273)

Ruth Hill Viguers, in The Horn Book Magazine (copyright, 1961, by the Horn Book, Inc., Boston), June, 1961.

[Betty Cavanna] uses the pleasant background of Nantucket Sound, and holidaying and sailing there against which to set [The Scarlet Sail, a] story of a girl's growth and development. The story is a useful one for older girls, dealing as it does with the difficulties common to many but the author is perhaps a little too self-consciously preoccupied with the problem [of adjusting to a new stepparent]. The treatment of the theme becomes almost clinical, while the moral is perhaps too pointedly made to be readily acceptable. The red sails and the seashore assume the too thin semblance of an attractive veneer which fails to fit the heavy solidarity beneath. (pp. 126-27)

The Junior Bookshelf, July, 1962.