Sanditon, the unfinished Jane Austen, was Kate’s starting book. I read this long ago but don’t remember it at all. However, I am looking forward to the new dramatization on Masterpiece Theatre beginning January 12, 2020.
Emma Watson, The Watsons Completed, which is my first book (not to be confused with actress Emma Watson!). She also crafted several elegantly written books about Austen characters long before everyone was doing it! Of course, Joan Aiken is best known for her children’s books, beginning with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. I met her once in New York, which is a cherished memory. I am so glad that her daughter Lizza Aiken is actively managing her mother’s estate.
My second book is by Joan’s sister (my mother and I always wondered why a poet like Conrad Aiken would give his daughters what is essentially the same name but, admittedly, he had a tough life), Savannah Purchase by Jane Aiken Hodge. This is my favorite of all her books; it’s a historical romance about identical cousins. Don’t you love an impersonation story?
My third book is Juliette Low, Girl Scout from the Childhood of Famous Americans series. Do you remember these books? They have been repackaged since my childhood but I managed to find the cover I remember. Low was from an affluent Savannah family, unhappily married, and a chance meeting with British general Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts, led her to help found a similar group for girls, which became the Girl Scouts in America. As a former Girl Scout, I have always enjoyed
The fourth book is a summer camp story, Sal Fisher at Girl Scout Camp by Lillian S. Gardner (1959). This is a three-book series that I found in my grade school library. My favorite was when Sal went to Girl Scout camp, full of girls learning life lessons, hikes, cookouts, and fun (although preserve me from actually going to overnight camp; much better to reach about it).
It is literally freezing outside and warm weather is a distant memory but my fifth book is Star Spangled Summer by Janet Lambert. This was my favorite series when I was growing up and I did some pretty crazy things to collect all 54 books by this author. Set just prior to WWII, it’s about Penny Parrish, a teen who invites lonely Carrol Houghton to visit her lively army family. Naturally, this changes both their lives and many books follow (now back in print from Image Cascade). The description of military life was fascinating to me, especially in later books when they live near West Point.
Finally, my sixth book is Mrs. Tim Christie by D.E. Stevenson, set in 1934. Married to a British army officer and trying to manage on a budget, life is a series of misadventures for this attractive and charming heroine. I am rereading this currently because the three sequels – Mrs. Tim Carries On, Mrs. Tim Gets a Job, and Mrs. Tim Flies Home are back in print from Furrowed Middlebrow and Dean Street Press. Also, I recently read Diary of a Provincial Lady for the first time, which was written about ten years before Mrs. Tim and is clearly influential. But I think Mrs. Tim is much funnier!
See you next month, if not before!