Hildegarde’s Harvest

February 22, 2009

I tried not to rush straight through Hildegarde’s Harvest, but I couldn’t help it. I thought I loved this series the first time I read it, but now that I’ve read it again, it’s become one of my favorite girls’ series, perhaps second only to Patty Fairfield.

Hildegarde’s Harvest is sort of split into two. In the first half, Hildegarde goes to New York for three days to stay with her Great-Aunt Emily and to sell some cakes she has made (little tulip-shaped almond ones, with a peach cream filling) so that she has enough money to buy Christmas presents. While in the city, she manages to run into Colonel Ferrers and Hugh who have been visiting friends, a number of girls who could be characters in an 1890s Gossip Girl, and all the main characters from Queen Hildegarde.

After her return home, the Merryweathers arrive for Christmas, Jack Ferrers returns from Germany, and Hildegarde pines a little for Roger Merryweather. Things wrap up without to much fanfare, and I’m left feeling a little sad that the series is over.

However, the really important thing about Hildegarde’s Harvest is that it opens with Hildegarde imagining a tea party she would like to give, to which she would invite Robin Hood, William of Orange, and Alan Breck Stuart, among others. She would have David Balfour as well, because she thinks he’d get along with Roger, but not any of King Arthur’s knights, because none of them has a sense of humor.

I love this girl.



  1. Sounds interesting. I should check it out.


  2. You definitely should.

  3. I’m re-reading my Margaret series right now. I only own two of the Hildegarde books; I really need to look for the rest.


  4. I don’t own any of them and I suspect they’re pretty hard to find, but the editions I’ve seen are so pretty that I kind of want them.

    Unless I really love a book or a series I find available online, I usually don’t feel the need to own it.

  5. I’ve been reading the first two Hildegarde books and I do like the first one much better. I just like the usual theme of spoiled rich girl finds how to be her true self which the first book is all about. The third one in the series isn’t available online at my favorite site yet so the next one will be Hildegarde’s Neighbors which seems to get a pretty good review from you. I’ll try the Margaret series next.

    It’s not my first introduction to the author as I do have the original book The Joyous Story of Toto which is geared toward children. As far as reading, I use a Palm TX PDA with Plucker reading software and download from manybooks.net which offers free public domain texts in many different formats including Kindle. It’s a nice site in that they show an example page from a book and also is searchable in many categories.

    One book that I suggest that you check out for reading is Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. I first read this via the old AOL ebook forum by the recommendation of the person who first digitized it. While it is written for girls, the theme is really universal. It’s available at Gutenberg of course. I reread it every year or so.

  6. The second book is the weakest in the series, definitely, but the third might be the strongest — do check it out if you have a chance.

    I’m familiar with manybooks.net, but I don’t have cause to use the site at all — their books are all converted Project Gutenberg titles. I prefer to go straight to PG and download text files straight to my Kindle.

    I have read Understood Betsy, although not since I was very young. I should probably give it another go. Thanks for the recommendation, and feel free to make more.

  7. Understood Betsy is my favorite book. I’ve been reading it pretty much every year since I was a kid. I had a paperback Scholastic version in the 1970s when I was in grade school. I think it says something about the book that it has been in print pretty much continuously since its publication in 1918.

    A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to get an early edition with the original illustrations–which I love so much better than the ones in my old paperback, which portrayed Betsy more as a child of the 1940s than the 19-teens.

    As an adult, when I re-read Understood Betsy, I really see the strong Montessori influence, but as a kid, I just loved the story. I read it to my three sons when they were late elementary age, and they loved it, too, even though it was a “girl” book.

  8. I probably read Understood Betsey when I was in third or fourth grade. I have fond memories of it, but for some reason the circumstances weren’t right for it to become one of my favorites. Maybe I should read it again.

    I love it when children’s book authors are so up front about their philosophy of raising kids. I mean, as long as they’re not too preachy about it.

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