Patty’s Butterfly DaysMay 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.