lemonjellyWho wrote this book and when?
Madeline Babcock Smith published this book in 1997.

Has there been a film version?
No.

Who are the important characters?
Helene – our narrator, a young girl who is the daughter of a doctor
Mama/Kate – Helene’s mother, well educated and beautiful
Frank/Papa – Helene’s father, a doctor
Mr. Wint Fenton – a man who has befriended Helene and her family and is in love with Kate
Antha – their next door neighbor, a woman who loves to cook
Gracie – the preacher’s daughter and Helene’s best friend
Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin – the preacher and his wife
Uncle Will – Antha’s husband

What’s it about?
This story seems to tell simply a set of stories about growing up in the early 1900’s. Helene is the town doctor’s daughter and together with her friend, Gracie, gets into all sorts of trouble from trying her hand at matchmaking to accidentally finding herself in a “hoarhouse.” Underneath the story of Helene’s mishaps, however, is the story of Kate, Mr. Fenton, and Frank. Kate is beautiful and intelligent and when Mr. Fenton comes into their lives, an immediate attraction is lit. Frank is so busy with his patients that he doesn’t seem to notice that his wife is struggling against having an affair. Only when scandal strikes elsewhere in the town does Kate face up to her attraction to Mr. Fenton.

Why is this book a classic/bestseller?
I’m not really sure.

Do I recommend you read this book?
Eh, it was mediocre.

How did this book make my list?
I thought the cover was cute.

Favorite quotes:
“In a town where everyone knew what your grandmother had died from and how many quarts of tomatoes you put up each year, this was irritating. But everyone liked Canary.” – p 75

Anything else?
My favorite story was Helene curing the stomach ailment where a woman got so upset after eating cream that her “stomach churned it into butter.”

Personal thoughts:
This book was a nice easy read that was pleasant on the brain. There was a lot of fluff – little stories that didn’t take much thinking or effort to understand. I was a little frustrated that the author didn’t address the conflict of Wint and Kate until the very last 2 chapters of the book, especially as it was so obvious throughout the rest of it. In her defense, she did have Helene as a narrator. There was a great deal of humor when it came to Helene’s antics. She was a pleasant mixture of Anne Shirley, Laura Ingalls, and any one of the girls from the Betsy Tacy books. Anyone remember those?

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