Posts Tagged ‘girls’

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Patty-Bride

March 19, 2018

There’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to write a straightforward review of a Patty Fairfield book, and yet here we are. This is my fourth attempt at writing about Patty-Bride. The third time was not the charm.

You know how books often go downhill when the romance wraps up? This is a whole book of that, but with some spies to spice things up. Two weeks ago when Patty Blossom ended, no world events had been mentioned in the entire series. But now the US has entered WWI, and when Patty isn’t mooning over Bill Farnsworth and writing him appallingly gooey letters, she’s knitting socks for soldiers and working for war-related charities. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Violet Vereker’s Vanity

February 9, 2018

Hey, so: Violet Vereker’s Vanity, by Annie Emma Challice. I liked it a lot. And I think probably Annie Emma Challice was before her marriage the Annie Emma Armstrong who wrote Three Bright Girls, which I have owned since childhood and haven’t read in many years.

Violet is the middle daughter in a very nice family, and also she’s a bit of a snob, encouraged by her friend Amy Lawrence. The Lawrences are ostentatious and a little vulgar where the Verekers are quietly well-bred. When the Sugden family moves to the neighborhood and Violet hears that they made their fortune manufacturing soap, she resolves not to mix with them any more than necessary, and certainly never to go to their house.

But the Sugdens turn out to be really nice–especially the eldest son, Marmaduke. Violet, to her credit, realizes this immediately, and feels pretty stupid. But she also feels bound by her promise not to visit the Sugdens, and things become increasingly awkward. And that’s the plot, aside from a series of convenient injuries.

The whole thing is one big lesson about pride, and cutting off your nose to spite your face, and Challice never tries not to be obvious about that, but her writing never really feels didactic. Violet is super relatable, an awkward teenager who feels like she has no choice in doing what she’s doing, even though her situation is entirely of her own making. This is just a good, solid, wholesome, late 19th century book for girls. I approve.

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The Story Book Girls

January 12, 2018

I’m having an absurdly good run of book luck to start the year: first The Wings of Youth and the less-good-but-not-bad Girl in the Mirror, then Meg’s Friend, and now The Story Book Girls, by Christina Gowans Whyte. I can’t imagine it getting any better than The Story Book Girls, though. I tried to write about the book while I was reading it, but my notes are mostly things like “Elma! and Mabel!” and “I am wildly in love with the whole Leighton family.”

This is one of those books that I liked too much to be able to write about easily. I am at the best of times mostly a seething mass of emotion, and this book had my eyes welling up with (good) tears about twice a chapter. So, where to start? Read the rest of this entry ?

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Meg’s Friend

January 11, 2018

Why were Victorians so good at weird kids and so bad at romance? Okay, that’s a very broad generalization, and probably unfair, but it applies to Meg’s Friend, by Alice Abigail Corkran.

Meg is a young girl raised in a boarding house in London. The proprietress, Mrs. Brown, is the only guardian she’s ever known, but somewhere in the background someone is sending money for her keep. She’s a reserved, serious child whose upbringing has given her a lot of worldly wisdom, and she has exactly one friend. This is William Standish, a young journalist who boards at Mrs. Browne’s. He’s clearly more genteel and better educated than the other people Meg knows, and he teaches her and reads to her and improves her speech and manners by example. In return, she keeps his room tidy, holds onto his money so he doesn’t run out before payday, and scolds him when he drinks. It’s his inquiries that draw Meg’s guardian’s attention to the conditions at Mrs. Browne’s and get Meg sent away to school. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Heart of Gold

July 19, 2017

What is it about active, mischievous girls that makes their authors want to injure them? In Heart of Gold, Ruth Alberta Brown’s third Peace Greenfield book, Peace falls off a roof. Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Lilac Lady

July 18, 2017

The second of Ruth Alberta Brown’s Peace Greenfield books is The Lilac Lady. The Greenfield girls live in the city now, in a big house with its own stables and a lawn that slopes down to the river. Wealth doesn’t change Peace, except by giving her more leisure to get involved in other peoples’ business — whether that means giving her shoes to a poor girl or confronting boys who are bullying an animal or arranging a treat for an asylum full of orphans. All this altruism would feel oppressive if Peace didn’t have such a vivid personality. She’s dreamy and quick-tempered at the same time, interested in everything and incapable of sitting still. Read the rest of this entry ?

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At the Little Brown House

July 17, 2017

I’ve just finished a cute little series by Ruth Alberta Brown. The first book is At the Little Brown House, in which the six Greenfield girls struggle to support themselves and their invalid mother. Gail is the eldest, and takes care of the rest. Faith is next, a little lazy and discontented. Hope and Cherry, the middle girls, are the least distinct, as characters. Then come Peace and Allie, about seven and five, respectively. Peace is our protagonist, well meaning but impulsive, and usually in some kind of trouble. Allie is her faithful shadow. Read the rest of this entry ?