In these "Winter Evening Tales," Mrs. Barr has spread before her readers
a feast that will afford the rarest enjoyment for many a leisure hour.
There are few writers of the present day whose genius has such a
luminous quality, and the spell of whose fancy carries us along so
delightfully on its magic current. In these "Tales"--each a perfect gem
of romance, in an artistic setting--the author has touched many phases
of human nature. Some of the stories in the collection sparkle with the
spirit of mirth; others give glimpses of the sadder side of life.
Throughout all, there are found that broad sympathy and intense humanity
that characterize every page that comes from her pen. Her men and women
are creatures of real flesh and blood, not deftly-handled puppets; they
move, act and speak spontaneously, with the full vigor of life and the
strong purpose of persons who are participating in a real drama, and not
Mrs. Barr has the rare gift of writing from heart to heart. She
unconsciously infuses into her readers a liberal share of the enthusiasm
that moves the people of her creative imagination. One cannot read any
of her books without feeling more than a spectator's interest; we are,
for the moment, actual sharers in the joys and the sorrows, the
misfortunes and the triumphs of the men and women to whom she introduces
us. Our sympathy, our love, our admiration, are kindled by their noble
and attractive qualities; our mirth is excited by the absurd and
incongruous aspects of some characters, and our hearts are thrilled by
the frequent revelation of such goodness and true human feeling as can
only come from pure and noble souls.
In these "Tales," as in many of her other works, humble life has held a
strong attraction for Mrs. Barr's pen. Her mind and heart naturally turn
in this direction; and although her wonderful talent, within its wide
range, deals with all stations and conditions of life, she has but
little relish for the gilded artificialities of society, and a strong
love for those whose condition makes life for them something real and
earnest and definite of purpose. For this reason, among many others, the
Christian people of America have a hearty admiration for Mrs. Barr and
her work, knowing it to be not only of surpassing human interest, but
spiritually helpful and inspiring, with an influence that makes for
morality and good living, in the highest sense in which a Christian
understands the term.
New York, 1896.
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