I'm a little late to the party.
I realized that the deadline was coming up and I picked up the book last Wednesday night. I usually can blast through a book like this in a few days so I didn't think it would be a problem.
It's a story of a girl named Elnora, who is neglected by a mother whose life has been soured by her husband's early death. The girl rises above her circumstances by finding ways to earn her way through in life. Eventually becoming a teacher, finding love, and reclaiming her mother's heart along the way.
This was one of the slowest books I've ever read. I really like peaceful quiet stories, but this will probably have to go down as a little on the boring side. No. A lot on the boring side.
It's a pleasant tale, but it was incredibly preachy! I read it before when I was about 14 or 15 and I remember not liking it, but it wasn't for the preachy aspects. So, maybe parents of young girls who would like to give their daughters a hefty dose of sound morals might consider this a good book. Rereading it at the age I am, I found myself saying, "Ok, you made your point. I agree with you. Stop harping on it."
I didn't like it when I was young because I thought Philip, Elnora's love interest, showed too much attention to Elnora before he had broken off his engagement to his fiancee, Edith. I have somewhat altered my opinion. I DO think he showed a wee bit too much attention to Elnora while they were together, but this time around I did end up believing that he wasn't just breaking up with one girl because he fell for a new one. I, like many of the other bloggers reading this book, agree that Elnora did the right thing by establishing firmly in the mind of Philip and his ex-fiancee that Philip really was "over" Edith. Unfortunately this part, which I tend to consider the redeeming factor, doesn't happen until nearly the end of the book and you have to slog through a LOT to get there.
Also, there were a few times characters were referenced from her previous works. So, I'm sure a reading of Freckles would have helped. I had Freckles read to me when I was a very very young person, so I had absolutely no recollection of who the other characters were. And when you have two characters named "Freckles" and "The Swamp Angel" it leaves you more than a little curious.
Again, it's a book I think is tame and pleasant and maybe good for younger girls, but I could think of quite a few young adult books that I personally would rather read. Anne of Green Gables comes to mind. I'm glad it was picked for June because I highly doubt I would have picked it up again for any other reason.