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Six Girls and the Tea Room

March 20, 2015

Six Girls and the Tea Room is, if anything, more satisfactory than Six Girls and Bob, and gives me a lot of hope for the rest of the series. It covers the Scollards’ (and Gretta’s) winter in the city, and mostly revolves around the tea room and circulating library that the older girls set up — but with plenty of room for subplots. There are a lot of subplots.

Actually, it’s a lot like what happened with the farm in the first book. You know me: I would be super happy with a book that focused entirely on the girls establishing and running their business. And this isn’t that, and I surprised myself by not caring. What was there was nice, but is was just a background to all sorts of other things: Margery’s romance, a disaster befalling Miss Keren, a mysterious, be-cloaked musician, some long-lost relative stuff, the Continuing Problem of Laura (she’s the lazy, conceited Scollard), etc.

I mean, really, there are a lot of subplots, and some of them are vastly unlikely, but none of them are intrusive. Perhaps it’s because Marion Ames Taggart backs everything up with solid characterization and believable relationships.

Happie is really the protagonist of these books, and she’s the typical best sibling — bright and cheerful and competent and everyone’s favorite — but she’s also fourteen and full of kid feelings. She resents her older sister’s suitor, refuses to recognize Ralph Gordon’s crush on her, and is casually mean to Laura in a very realistically sibling-like way.

There are about three happy endings and a couple of sad ones, and Taggart still finds space for an excellent snowball fight scene. I continue to be reminded of Laura E. Richards, and something about the tea room made me think of the Polly and Eleanor books, which I don’t think I’ve ever written about. Honestly, I can’t find fault with this book. Nothing about it is superlatively wonderful, but everything is just about right. Looking forward to the next one.

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7 comments

  1. am loving your reviews of this series . . .


    • Thanks! Are you a fan of the series? (I’m angling for reassurance that the rest of the books are just as good.)


  2. There seems to be at least four more books in the series (I was looking at Google Books to find them). I’m really surprised there’s no Wikipedia entry on the author.


  3. I haven’t read the second one yet, and it was out of a nagging little fear that it wouldn’t be as good as the first. Now I really want to start it!


    • Fair warning: I’m not totally sure how I feel about the third one. But the second one is great.


  4. That multiple subplot thing with various siblings sounds kind of like Margaret Widdemer’s “You’re Only Young Once.”


    • Sort of, yeah. It’s not broken up into stories like that, though. These plots are more evenly distributed throughout the book. And the point of view is mostly focused on Happie.



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