Posts Tagged ‘girls’

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Polly and Eleanor

April 14, 2019

So, I don’t know if the whole Polly and Eleanor series is going to happen for me, this time around. It’s partly that I’ve been reading too slowly and I’ve lost momentum, and partly that my attention is on other things. But also Polly and Eleanor is, you know, not very good–and in frustrating ways. Read the rest of this entry ?

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12th Blogiversary/Polly of Pebbly Pit

March 4, 2019

I read the first five books in Lillian Elizabeth Roy’s Polly Brewster series in 2007, right around when I started this blog. I had to stop there, because the sixth book wasn’t out of copyright yet, but since then, when I’ve thought about the public domain expanding in 2019, I’ve thought, “Oh, then I’ll be able to read the next Polly and Eleanor book.” 2019 felt really far away in 2007, but it’s finally here, so it feels appropriate to celebrate this blogiversary by revisiting this series.

This is making it sound like these books are really great, and if I recall correctly, they’re not. Polly of Pebbly Pit certainly isn’t, but it’s not bad, either–it’s just a decent girls’ series book for people who like girls’ series books, with an emphasis on sensible parenting and some mean-spirited comic relief. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Philippa

January 18, 2019

I’m always so impressed by Mrs. Molesworth. Not so much by her fantasy-tinged stuff for younger readers — the same grounded-ness that makes her other books so good drags her down there. But her more realistic books — mostly the ones for older girls — are so smart in such a light-handed, careful way, and even when I think I’m expecting it, I’m always a little surprised. They’re didactic — they’re very straightforwardly about learning to exist as a woman in the world — but not in the pejorative sense. They feel like very kind and human instruction manuals. And I have a lot of affection for instruction manuals. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Nina’s Career

June 7, 2018

The bad news is that Nina’s Career isn’t as good as The Story Book Girls. The good news is that it’s still good enough that I want to read everything Christina Gowans Whyte ever wrote.

Nina Wentworth is an orphan being raised in London by three spinster aunts. Their income will die with them, so eventually Nina will have to support herself, and as she’s shown some artistic talent, she’s training to be an artist.

That’s not what the book is about. Read the rest of this entry ?

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An Everyday Girl

June 5, 2018

An Everyday Girl, by Amy Ella Blanchard, is one of those books that wants to be two or three completely unrelated books, but it’s fine. I didn’t mind the structural issues half as much as the casual racism (including blackface and the N-word).  Read the rest of this entry ?

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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.