Title: Ishmael Or, In the Depths
Author: E.D.E.N. Southworth
Genres: Religious, Family
My Rating: 4
Good for ages: 12+
Summary: Ishmael Worth was born under tragic circumstances. While his parents were married, to the world it appeared as if they were not; therefore Ishmael grew up in poverty and shame.
When he saves the life of Captain Burghe’s sons he is given an education at the most exclusive school in the county, run my Mr. Middleton who soon becomes a good friend. He also becomes great friends with Mr. Middleton’s two oldest children, Walter and Bee, and falls hopelessly in love with the niece, Claudia (who will be the richest girl in the country when she reaches her majority).
At school he continues to grow into a noble, honorable young man and also a great scholar. Within a couple years he excels to the head of the school.
When he learns the ‘shame’ of his parentage he determines to rise above it and make something of himself despite everybody. When a collection of law books comes into his possession he decides to become a lawyer, he studies the books thoroughly. Studying on his own and with the help of Judge Merlin he passes the Washington bar exam with flying colors and soon becomes a famous lawyer – famous in that he is a brilliant barrister and because he takes cases that no one else will take because the client is too poor.
He soon begins to hope that even Claudia would look upon him as a suitable lover, until the arrival of Viscount Vincent.
The book is a little melodramatic, when Ishmael is first born and any time he becomes ill the author reminds us that any other child would die. Ishmael is a noble, honorable, brilliant young man but it is slightly overdone and maybe even a little cheesy.
That said it is a wonderful book. I enjoy the slow pace compared to The Hidden Hand, yet Ishmael has his share of adventures. I also get frustrated with the fact that children born out of wedlock were treated so badly even though it wasn’t their fault (Ishmael wasn’t but he is treated so), so I generally enjoy stories where such a child is able to rise above their circumstances and gain people’s respect.
My Favorite Quotes:
~ Remember, dear, that (though I don’t call it harm, but the greatest blessing of my life) if was at a corn-shucking, where we met for the first time, that you and I fell in love long of each other, and have we ever fell out of it yet? No, Hannah, nor never will. But as you and I are both poor, and faithful, and patient, and broken in like to bear things cheerful, no harm has come of our falling in love at a corn-shucking.
~ When you see a person preoccupied, downcast, despondent, and ask him, “What is the matter?” and he answers, “Nothing,” be sure that it is something great, unutterable, or fatal!
~ Then you must know, Reuben, why it is that the wicked are suffered to live so long on this earth! People often wonder at the mysterious ways of Providence, when they see a good man prematurely cut off and a wicked man left alive! Why, it isn’t mysterious at all to me! The good man was ready to go, and the Lord took him; the bad man was left to his chance of repentance.