Margot Benary-Isbert Norma Rathburn - Essay

Norma Rathburn

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

There is much to recommend this superior teen-age novel ["Castle on the Border"]. Romance, humor and gaiety, the satisfaction in unselfish living, the understanding which can exist between the aged and the young, the joys of a creative life, and a sensitive response to nature are all skilfully interwoven.

Mrs. Benary-Isbert is an author who knows that one faces life with courage and she transfers this truth to young people with the conviction that they will understand. (p. 37)

Norma Rathburn, in The Saturday Review (Entire issue copyright 1956 by Saturday Review Associates, Inc.; reprinted with permission), August 18, 1956.

[In The Wicked Enchantment] Anemone lives happily with her widowed father and pet dog in Vogelsang, a German town of medieval fairy-tale quality, until the mysterious disappearance of a statue and gargoyle from the Cathedral casts troubled shadows of eerie foreboding upon most of its inhabitants…. [Her] aunt, together with her pets, a little magic, and Anemone, solve the mystery and bring happiness and stability to the town once more. This fantasy is sharp and bold with a down to earth quality that gives it the appearance of a clear cut black and white etching. The narrative is sometimes a little too rough and coarse, as though it had been ground down, losing in the process its depth and mirrored movements of light and shade. But for much of the time the ingredients of true fantasy are there and while the story resembles many of its kind it is worth individual recommendation. The author gives evidence of a living faith and that faith sheds a light on the story, and a light that reveals a vital truth. (p. 202)

The Junior Bookshelf, October, 1956.