Holiday House by Catherine Sinclair

Illustration from Holiday House by Catherine Sinclair. Part of the Children's Literature Digital Collection.

Sinclair wrote a number of adult novels, tracts, travel books and, later, a series of picture letters, but her most famous and enduring tale is Holiday House which as Carpenter and Prichard suggest, flouted the conventions of the moral tale and “is one of the first books that accepts children as they really are” (485).

The story follows the exploits of Laura and Harry Graham, lively and energetic children who are cared for by their Uncle David and Grandmama, during their father’s absence. Their mother dies when they are young and their distressed widower father travels abroad.

The book is very much a tale of two halves; the first ‘half’ focuses on Laura and Harry’s childhood and their adventures, while the second is devoted to more serious matters and to the experiences of Laura and Harry as they near adulthood, including the death of  older brother Frank.

Bibliographical reference

Author:Sinclair, Catherine (1800-1864)
Title:Holiday House: A Book for the Young (1839)
Publisher:London & Melbourne: Ward, Lock & Co.


Front coverTitle and contents pages
IllustrationChit Chat
The Grand FeastThe Terrible Fire
The Prodigious CakeThe Last Clean Frock
The Long LadderThe Mad Bull
The Broken KeyThe Wonderful Story
The IlluminationThe Poor Boy
The Young MidshipmanThe Amusing Drive
The Unexpected EventAn Unexpected Voyage
The ArrivalThe Last Birthday

Read Holiday House by Catherine Sinclair as a single PDF here (25.8MB).

Source: Humphrey Carpenter and Mari Prichard (1984) ‘Catherine Sinclair’ in The Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature, Oxford: Oxford UP

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