I was bequeathed a number of vintage books in varying condition and value.
I intend to work my way through them, unless they are in such bad shape that reading them would destroy them. I did inherit them, and it seems only kindness to the authors of long-ago that I read them.
I read this one about a month ago.
This is the original edition, published in 1914. Condition is fair to good.
The only art work in it is this:
The artist was Douglas Duer.
The dedication in the book is foreign to me:
It is possible this book was purchased used, but the pencil notations cause me pause. I will need to research this more: who is Leda, and who is Papa? I have a year to go on: 1914, the year the book was published. It has a copyright date.
About the story: it is set in rural eastern Idaho around the turn of the century (1900). The heroine is the first person we meet, and her name is Billy Louise – named after the son her father never had and after the daughter her mother always wanted. She goes by Billy, for the most part, and she has to play two roles: Billy, the son, and Louise, the daughter. Her best friend is an illiterate woman by the name of Marthy, who has settled the draw above Billy Louise’s parents’ place.
By chance, Billy Louise a cowboy named Ward, and he is hired on to work for her through a very cold winter. I was tempted to skip chapters, but I ended up having to go back and read all of the chapters. I loved the conversations Billy Louise and Ward had. Ward creates multiple nick-names for her. Billy Louise is bluntly honest about her fantasy life as a child (which included Ward, taken from a scrap of newspaper she found wrapped around a parcel when she was a young girl).
There’s a mystery about stolen cattle and Ward’s past. The main characters: Billy Louise, Ward, and Marthy, are drawn together in the ultimate conclusion of the book. The horses have names and personalities (Okay, that’s not a good reason to give a book a good review, but who can resist a faithful horse named Blue and a crazy horse named Rattler?)
It’s a romance story, pure and simple. And it ends happy.
Then I picked up this “gem”: It’s a tad bit water damaged on the cover, but not inside.
My grandmother’s handwriting. I have no idea who Marian Holmes was. My mother was 11 in 1943.
Condition is OK. No copyright date.
Elsie seems, in the first 6 pages of this book, to be constantly worried about whether her father is going to be angry with her and punish her, and whether she has sinned against God. Elsie is always apologizing to her father: “Dear papa, I was very naughty and cross just now… Please, papa, forgive me; I am very sorry, and I will try to be a better girl.” At least once, her father sends her to sit in the closet, simply for having asked a question twice – and he leaves her there for hours!
I skimmed the book. There is a story in there, but it is dimmed by my own perception as an independent woman, and I couldn’t stand to read it. Elsie is completely dominated by her father and her fear of God, the punishing Father. By the end of the book, it is clear that all Elsie desires to be is “good” and “obedient” and “submissive”. And she’s getting five stars for getting all of that right.
Give me Billy Louise, any day. She was a rascal and a judgmental young woman, but she was completely honest, and she was raised to be able to do a man’s job as well as a woman’s. Side by side, these books don’t compare in price and antiquity.
Elsie – there were 28 books in the series. The one I own, in good condition, sells for $19 or so on Amazon or eBay.
Billy Louise – You can download for free on Amazon Prime or purchase an edition of the book (if you can find it) for under $3.
But, as far as it goes for historical role models for young women, Billy Louise is more honest, straight-forward, and romantic than Elsie, the cowed, will ever be.
Pun intended. And if I have to explain that to you, I’m sorry. 😀
Next up: Tom Swift and His Airline Express by Victor Appleton. And I do remember reading this as a young girl.