You’re Only Young Once

November 30, 2014

I’ve been in a sort of Margaret Widdemer, sheltered girl finally getting the adventure she’s been wanting mood, so I keep picking up her books, but You’re Only Young Once isn’t in that mold. Instead of a lone, lonely heroine, you have a family of them, plus some brothers, with loving parents in the background. Angela Goldsborough is the eldest, a doll-like singing teacher, one of two daughters who are contributing to the family income. Then Janetta is tall, dark and business-minded, Deborah is dreamy and beautiful, Annice is quiet and quaint, and Isabella is lively and spoiled. All of them are pretty, and none of them lacks male attention — the older sisters draw lots for the parlor in the evening, because all of them are always expecting callers. Each of them gets a romance over the course of the book, and so do two of their three brothers — warm-hearted John and steady, bespectacled Worrel.

With so many young people to dispose of, none of them get very much time. Sometimes that’s fine — I was satisfied with how much I got of Deborah and Isabella, who each had a few extra chapters, post-engagement, and Angela’s story was almost too abrupt to engage me at all. But I would happily have read a whole book about Annice, who comes up with a ridiculous plan that turns out better than she has any right to expect. Or Janetta, who might be my favorite, and who doesn’t allow her marriage to end her career in real estate. And John really only gets half his story told.

All of my complaints boil down to wanting more, though, and that’s barely a criticism.



  1. I love this book. It’s a fun read. I like Annice’s story, because I have a child born on Leap Year Day, so I enjoy stories that use Leap Year traditions as a focal point.

    • Annice is pretty great. I can’t actually think of any other Leap Day stories, though. Can you recommend some?

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