Title: Emily of Deep Valley
Author: Maud Hart Lovelace
Series: Deep Valley, #2 (can definitely be read as a stand-alone, though)
Genre: Historical/Classic Romance/Literary Fiction
Age-Range: 12+ (upper middle grade/young adult/adult)
Era: 1910s (later Edwardian)
Setting: Deep Valley, Minnesota
Publisher: Harper Trophy (first published 1950)
Source: library/now own
Rating: 5/5 stars
Content: 1/5. I can’t think of anything in this story that isn’t okay for all ages. I guess there’s the usual falling in love and a couple kisses (absolutely no details), but … yeah, it’s really just sweet and adorable. 🙂
Emily of Deep Valley by Maud Hart Lovelace
Emily Webster, an orphan living with her grandfather, is not like the other girls her age in Deep Valley, Minnesota. The gulf between Emily and her classmates widens even more when they graduate from Deep Valley High School in 1912. Emily longs to go off to college with everyone else, but she can’t leave her grandfather.
Emily resigns herself to facing a lost winter, but soon decides to stop feeling sorry for herself. And with a new program of study, a growing interest in the Syrian community, and a handsome new teacher at the high school to fill her days, Emily gains more than she ever dreamed.
Wow. Just wow.
I heard that there was more to the Betsy-Tacy series a couple years back … that Betsy’s Wedding wasn’t the last one. Lovelace had written several stories about minor characters from the Betsy-Tacy series … and one about a completely new character, Emily Webster.
I had to read it.
A library trip later, I read it through in one sitting.
There is something about this book that sets it apart from even the later Betsy-Tacy books. Perhaps it has something to do with Emily, quiet, sensible, two-feet-on-the-ground Emily. Perhaps it has something to do with the message of the story … how Emily overcame her boredom, her loneliness, and her feeling of uselessness by serving others, by making things happen.
It could easily be called ‘The Blooming of Emily Webster’ if that title didn’t sound just a bit too cliché for such a perfect, adorable book. 🙂
Lets start out with Emily. She’s an awesome protagonist. At the beginning, she’s sad and just a bit pouty over the loss of her schoolmates, the feeling of uselessness as she no-longer has a place to go every day with school over.
She was never a big part of the school social circle. She was always the outcast, the girl who didn’t have a mother and father and a modern, pretty house to host friends in, but she still misses the activity, the ability to slip into the crowd and get lost in everyone else’s merriment.
Now Emily must make her own way in the world as a young woman. She thinks the only way to do that would be to go through college … but, of course, she’s wrong, because no woman in a Maud Hart Lovelace novel needs anything – not even college – to get anything done if she really sets her mind to it.
So Emily sets to work.
Another fun part of this story was Jed. Wow. The first time I read this, I didn’t see that one coming. Well, the fun thing about Lovelace’s books is that you never see the romance before it actually happens … and most the time, you have no idea who the character will marry until the end! Yet you never feel like the character is making too sudden decisions or anything like that! I wish I could write like that. 🙂
Overall, this is a must-read for … anyone. Let’s just leave it at that. 😛