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Hildegarde’s Holiday

November 2, 2008

Hildegarde’s Holiday is a meandering sort of book, and it also sort of forms a break in the narrative of the series. Since the end of Queen Hildegarde, Bubble and Pink Chirk’s mother has died, and they have been given a home by the Hartleys. Bubble has been sent to school in the city, as he wants to be a doctor, and Pink has been renamed Rose and has just had an operation to restore to her the use of her legs.

Rose needs to convalesce a bit, preferably in the country, so she and Hilda go to spend the summer with Hilda’s great aunt Wealthy Bond. (Similarities between Hilda Grahame and Elsie Dinsmore: 1. Both have maiden aunts named Wealthy. 2. Neither drinks caffeine.)

There’s an episode where Hilda and Rose encounter a strange old miser who takes a liking to them and brings them gifts, but mostly, they spend the first half of the book talking about flowers. It’s not very exciting. Later it picks up a little. Hilda becomes interested in the kids at a hospital in town, and she convinces Aunt Wealthy to open up the house in the wood where she and her former fiance (dead in a boating accident) intended to live and make it into a home for convalescing children. Hildegarde’s Holiday is a sweet book, but not a very absorbing one. It’s definitely my least favorite in the series, although I do appreciate that it gives me the opportunity to write the word “convalesce,” which isn’t something I get to do very often.

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