Books I read

Book I read: Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Description on Goodreads

For all of her nine years, fragile Elizabeth Ann has heard her Aunt Frances refer in whispers to her “horrid Putney cousins.” But when her aunt can no longer care for her, Elizabeth Ann must leave her sheltered life to live in the wilds of Vermont with those distant relatives.

In the beginning, Elizabeth Ann is shocked by country living–pets are allowed to sleep in the house and children are expected to do chores! But with country living comes independence and responsibility, and in time, Elizabeth Ann finds herself making friends and enjoying her new family. When the year is up and Aunt Frances comes to get her niece, she finds a healthier, prouder girl with a new name–Betsy–and a new outlook on life.

The writing is simple and sweet but not dumbed down to half-witted children. It’s exactly the type of reading that expands a vocabulary and enriches our imaginations.

This is a favourite in our house. It is beloved. It is reread. It is falling apart. It’s a keeper! This classic story gripped us and my boys couldn’t wait to walk with Betsy every day through her discovery. We all rooted for her learning a new skill, having a new idea. Just finding life on her own terms. We loved Betsy’s kindness and inner strength.

What we loved, even more, was her quirky family! The way they allowed her to grow into, I believe, an incredible little girl and definitely a wonderful young woman, is inspirational and encouraging. I raise my sons the same way and for me, as a mother, it was almost confirmation that I’m on the right track.

This is a period drama with all things old. Old methods from days gone by, old traditions, old clothes, old hobbies. Just everything old. Personally, a time I think I escaped from.

Where to learn more about the author:

Unfortunately, you cannot connect with this amazing author but you can read more about her on Wikipedia and Britannica. I found a charming write-up about a 1921 letter between the writer and a friend. Although there are over 40 books written by this writer, Amazon has about 12 listed for sale. She wrote fiction and non-fiction among others books on Montessori! An unexpected jewel for me. Some more reviews by   Leaves and Pages and a review about the audio book on PW. The Paris Review mentioned this book among a whole collection of similar classics! How special.

Where to buy this little book?

Takealot (for South African readers)

Amazon (worldwide shipping)

Bookdepository (worldwide shipping)

Audible (audiobook narrated by Anna Hancock)

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