Posts Tagged ‘girls’

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The Turned-About Girls

July 21, 2014

Cathlin recently recommended The Turned-About Girls, by Beulah Marie Dix, and it was already sort of in the back of my head, because someone else — Mel? — was reading it recently. And I’ve been reading a whole string of things trying to avoid reading any more of Bulldog Drummond, so I started it almost immediately. And it’s really, really good. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Molly Brown 2/3

June 24, 2013

I’ve now read books five and six of the Molly Brown series — Molly Brown’s Post-Graduate Days and Molly Brown’s Orchard Home. And I think I’m taking a break for a bit. I don’t like anyone anymore. Or care about what happens to Molly.

Here’s what happens in the first two post-college Molly Brown books:

A bunch of people fall in love with each other. Everyone is super jealous of everyone else. Molly and Professor Green are much less entertaining than they were before. Molly’s aunt, for whatever reason, is evil. So is the mother of a girl they meet on their way to France in book six. The kind of people who were redeemable in the earlier books aren’t anymore. The humor is meaner. The friendships are less convincing.

I’m sure part of the way I feel about these two books is about my having run out of patience, but not all of it. So, I hope to come back to Molly Brown at some point and finish the series, but for now I am done.

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Molly Brown, 1/2 — or maybe 3

June 23, 2013

People have been bugging me about reading Nell Speed for a long time. LadyMem on Twitter, in particular, reminds me every so often that this is something I have to do. And since it seemed like last week was coming late to the party week for me, I have finally started reading the Molly Brown series. This post deals with the first half of the series — Molly Brown’s Freshman Days through Molly Brown’s Senior Days.

And yeah, they’re fun. Really, really fun.

This is actually the first college girl series I’ve read in years that hasn’t made me feel like a lousy person for not liking college. I don’t know if that’s because they’re less intent on preaching the gospel of their fictional college, or just that I’ve moved past that. I think it might be a little of both. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Hollyhock

August 29, 2012

I have found the worst ever L.T. Meade book. Or at least I hope I have. I wouldn’t like to think it gets any worse. This is kind of an unedited rant, so, you know, be warned.

At the start of Hollyhock we’re introduced to two families, so symmetrical that if the widowed father of one and the widowed mother of the other weren’t siblings, this would be The Brady Bunch. And it gets worse: George Lennox’s daughters are Jasmine, Gentian, Hollyhock, Rose of the Garden and Delphinium, known collectively as the Flower Girls, while his sister Mrs. Constable’s sons are the Precious Stones: Jasper, Sapphire, Garnet, Opal and Emerald. Only it turns out those aren’t their real names; they all have normal ones: Lucy, Wallace, Ronald, etc. that they don’t know about. Calling a little boy Opal and concealing from him that he’s really called Andrew sounds almost abusive.

Anyway, there’s a lot of Flower Girl and Precious Stone-related exposition, but none of it matters because you’re not going to see most of these kids again. I mean, Jasmine is usually around, and Jasper and Gentian show up from time to time, but mostly this is a book about Hollyhock, one of Meade’s beloved troublesome but fascinating heroines, and her relationship with Lady Leucha Villiers, who is both the secondary heroine and the villain. And not in the usual L.T. Meade way, where the quiet, sensible girl and the naughty gypsyish one become best friends. Although, to be fair, I haven’t read A Very Naughty Girl since I was in high school.

Anyway. Read the rest of this entry ?

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About Peggy Saville and More About Peggy

November 15, 2011

So, this is what happens when I ask for recommendations: I download everything that looks appealing, read maybe half of it, and leave the rest sitting on my kindle indefinitely. Except that I also sometime come back to things. I’ve had Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey’s Peggy Saville books on my kindle since James recommended them more than a year ago. I finally got around to reading them last weekend, and I really enjoyed them. I mean, I thought there were some structural issues, and also when I look back at the two books it seems like nothing ever actually happened, but it was entertaining nothing. Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Dragon’s Secret

June 2, 2011

The Dragon’s Secret is the least good of the Augusta Huiell Seaman books I’ve read, which is a shame, because it started really well. The setting — a seaside resort in the autumn, an empty bungalow — was very much in its favor, and so was the setup — a girl keeping her invalid aunt company meets up with another girl who is there on a fishing trip with her father and brother, and they find an mysterious, ornate, and unopenable (a real word, believe it or not) box buried in the sand — but there’s no follow-through. The two girls do a little sneaking around, but they don’t really figure out anything on their own, and it turns out they’ve just stumbled into someone else’s mystery, which eventually gets explained to them. And because they really don’t know anything about what’s going on until they’re told, there’s not much life to the story. Still, there was something fun and atmospheric about it, so it’s not a total loss.

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The Three Sides of Paradise Green

May 5, 2011

First, here’s where we are with the poll results:

  • 10 votes — Top 10 underappreciated children’s books. I am working on this. It’s going to take a little while, but I do have my list of ten books finalized.
  • 5 votes — Pollyanna. This is going to be part of that list. I figure when you stack up all the people who hate it agains the ones who like it, it counts as underappreciated.
  • 4 votes — The Dragon’s Secret. This is definitely going to happen. For now, here’s another Augusta Huiell Seaman book.
  • 3 votes — Lady Audley’s Secret. This will happen…someday. But if you can’t wait, I recommend The Tragedy of Chain Pier. It’s practically the same thing.
  • 2 votes — Two Little Women and Treasure House. I’m hoping to do all three Two Little Women books at some point. It’s been too long since I’ve written about Carolyn Wells.
  • 1 vote — The Hidden Hand, Mary Jane Holmes, Trustee from the Toolrom. Respectively: someday, hopefully soon, and next time I reread it.
  • 0 votes — The Life and Death of Richard Yea-and-Nay.   :D :D :D

Anyway. The Three Sides of Paradise Green (out of copyright, but not available online. I read it at the library) is another Augusta Huiell Seaman book, published a few years after The Boarded-up House, and with kind of a similar setup: Two girls, best friends their entire lives, and a house next door with some kind of history-related secret. Except it’s kind of better.

This time the girls are named Susan and Carol, and they’ve just been asked by their English teacher to keep journals for the coming year. The book mostly consists of Susan’s journal entries, although there are a few third-person-narrated scenes. I’m not sure why. They don’t really add anything. Also, you know who else doesn’t add anything? Carol. She’s kind of a drip. Fortunately, very little of the burden of the story falls on Carol’s shoulders. The main mystery-solver here is Sue’s younger sister Helen Roberta, apparently named after Seaman’s own daughter, and variously referred to as Mademoiselle Héléne, Bobs, and the Imp. The Imp is hands down the coolest person in this book, but she’s also — you know how younger siblings can sometimes be more infuriating than anything else in the world? Yeah, that. Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Boarded-up House

May 3, 2011

A month ago I got an email from a reader, Mick, about Augusta Huiell Seaman. Seaman was an author of girls’ books who wrote from around 1910 though the 1940s, and while her early books were historical novels, she soon found herself a very nice niche writing books about contemporary teenage girls solving mysteries with a historical element. The Boarded-up House is the first of these mysteries, and it’s kind of great.

Joyce Kenway and Cynthia Sprague — best friends since they were little — live almost next door to each other. There’s just one building in between: a Colonial mansion that existed before the town that surrounds it, and which has been shut up for as long as anyone can remember. One afternoon, Joyce’s cat Goliath gets into the house — a board covering one of the basement windows has rotted away — and the girls follow him inside. What they find there is pretty weird: not only is the house still completely furnished, the plates from the occupants’ last meal there are still on the table. The girls decide to investigate and figure out what happened, and eventually they do. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Ads: Pollyanna (yes, again)

October 28, 2010

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Ads: Pollyanna

October 28, 2010

 

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Rosemary

June 9, 2010

I’m slowly making my way through The Leavenworth Case again (there are things I like better this time around, but there are also things I hate a lot more) and yesterday afternoon I decided I needed a break, so I went looking on Project Gutenberg for a book with a girl’s name in the title, as that seemed like a good way to find a light, fluffy romance.

I didn’t find what I was looking for, exactly. Rosemary, by Josephine Lawrence, (best known, I think, as a Stratemeyer Syndicate author) definitely has a girl’s name in the title, but it didn’t seem like the kind of book I was looking for. It did, however, seem like a book I wanted to read, and I didn’t want to lose track of it, so I abandoned my fluffy romance plans. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Phyllis

May 27, 2010

The Melting of Molly was nice, but Phyllis was better.

There are some basic similarities — the first-person narration, the particular kind of diary format the author uses, the deliberate obliviousness — but the two books feel fairly different.

Once cause of that, from which most of the others probably follow is that Phyllis is not a widow in her twenties, but a fifteen year old schoolgirl. She starts her diary (which is named Louise) when she and her parents move to the town of Byrdsville for the sake of her mother’s health. It’s never clear what exactly is wrong with the mother, but she’s always been an invalid, she’s going to die soon, and the nurse won’t let her husband and daughter see her because it makes her worse. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Patty’s Butterfly Days

May 5, 2010

I had meant to finish writing about the Patty Fairfield books in order at some indefinite point in the future, but I had a hankering to reread Patty’s Butterfly Days this week.

Butterfly Days is one of my favorites, I think. I’m pretty sure the only one I’ve read more often is Patty’s Summer Days. In it, Patty is left alone at the seaside with her friend Mona while Mr. Fairfield and Nan take a trip to the mountains. Mona lives in a big, over-decorated mansion, and she and Patty go to a lot of parties, give a few themselves, and are generally unproductive members of society. It’s really enjoyable.

I, um, don’t think I’ve ever had to to this before, but: SPOILERS AHEAD. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Four Girls and a Compact

August 29, 2009

Four Girls and a Compact is short and predictable, but not in a bad way. Four girls — Loraine, Laura Ann, Billy, and T.O. — are four working girls who share an apartment they call the “B-Hive” because all of their last names begin with B. Loraine is a teacher and an aspiring writer, Laura Ann is an artist whose job has something to do with photography, Billy teaches music, and T.O., the “Talentless One,” sells handkerchiefs in a department store.

All four are tired and overworked, and they decide to go spend the summer in the country. They’re determined to be completely selfish while on vacation, and they sign a “Wicked Compact,” which states that if any of them do anything unselfish during their trip, they will be evicted from the B-Hive. Read the rest of this entry ?

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A Girl of the Limberlost

August 27, 2009

I’d read A Girl of the Limberlost a long time ago, and although I remembered the basic outline of the story, I don’t think it really made much of an impression on me. This time around — well, mostly it just reminded me of Marie Conway Oemler. Enough to make me feel like I don’t need to reread A Woman Named Smith just yet, but not so much that I do feel like I need to reread Slippy McGee.

There are some fairly obvious similarities, from the character list at the beginning to the preoccupation with moths — things that make me think that Oemler, who was writing about ten years later, was definitely aware of Gene Stratton-Porter. Certain details in Oemler’s stories, especially The Purple Heights, show some deeper similarities, but while Oemler owes a lot to Stratton-Porter, I don’t have to switch favorites just yet — nothing in A Girl of the Limberlost made me grin to myself like a crazy person — although I did, at one point, say, “Oh no, not brain fever!” out loud. Why does it always have to be brain fever? Read the rest of this entry ?

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