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.

So, uh, Bill Farnsworth. 6’3″. Well built. Reads poetry. Patty’s future husband.

This is the first time we meet Bill, and it’s pretty clear from the start that he’s destined to be more to Patty than most of the young men she flirts with. And that makes me happy, because I adore Bill, especially when Wells gives us Phil Van Reypen as the main alternative.

Phil isn’t in this one, which is nice. Neither are Kenneth Harper and Mr. Hepworth, and I assume that’s so Wells has time to acquaint us with Bill. The only one of Patty’s old friends who appears in this one at all is Roger Farrington, who has never been a serious suitor, and is, in this book, being steered towards becoming a serious love interest for Mona.

I’m a little uncomfortable with the idea of heroines needing big strong men to look after them, and that’s pretty much exactly who Bill is and what he does, but I’m going to say, tentatively, that in this case it works. Patty has a lot of skills, and mostly she can take care of herself, but she’s also a little bit spoiled and occasionally reckless, and none of her friends or suitors up to this point have really been capable of standing up to her.

I’m so glad Wells didn’t decide to marry Patty to Phil Van Reypen.



  1. oh, thanks for the nudge… I ADORE Patty. Found her first in print at a booksale… but I think it’s time to fill up the old itouch with more Patty :) there can never be too much of that :)

  2. What app do you use for reading on the itouch?

    • Stanza hooks you up to lots of sources, including Gutenberg …

      stuff I wanted from gutenberg.au I grabbed using the Instapaper app.

      and I grabbed some free stuff off amazon using the Kindle app.


      • Thanks. I like to keep up on e-reading devices and stuff. I’m not familiar with Instapaper, but I’m going to check it out–every time I download something from PG AU I have to fight with the website.

  3. I love Patty Fairfield! I am so glad you are reading them and commenting positively on them. I have been collecting Patty for over twenty years — I am always looking for the old Dodd Mead prints with the wonderful illustrations.
    And I’ve been reading some other Carolyn Wells stuff on my itouch app, but still, nothing compares to Patty! Cheers!

    • I have a complete set of the Grosset & Dunlaps, but I’ve never actually come across one of the Dodd Meads except on the internet. It’s a shame, because I’m a big fan of E.C. Caswell.

      What other Carolyn Wells have you been reading? My favorite of her non-Patty books is the mystery Vicky Van.

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