Friday, May 14, 2010

They Loved to Laugh by Kathryn Worth

        They Loved to Laugh was recommended by another book blogger (forgive me for not remembering who), but it was a while before I could get my hands on it. Now I’m glad I made the effort.

        At first it had the feel of an Anne of Green Gables book: orphan comes to live with family and endears herself to their hearts. But that is where the resemblance ends. Sixteen year old Martitia Howland loses her parents to yellow fever and is adopted by the Quaker doctor who was with them when they died. The book details her next two years in Dr. Gardner’s home as she gets used to his five boisterous sons and one unfriendly daughter. The title refers to the mischief-loving Gardner sons. Yet as the book progresses, we see that under their boyish exteriors, they are kind and thoughtful young men.

        There are many things to love about this book. First, religion is mentioned as a matter-of-fact part of their lives, but the book is never preachy. Second, the Quaker “thees” and “thous” are not overdone and give poignancy to several conversations in the story. Third, I admired Martitia’s hard work to earn her place as new daughter. While she learns new skills, the reader also gains insight into how to weave cloth, sheer sheep, churn butter, etc. I learned a lot about farm life in the 1830’s.

        You’ll love the Gardner family and you’ll love this book.


Laura said...

I read this book years ago, then suggested it to my oldest daughter (she was 11 or 12 at the time). All four of my daughters have loved this book. My oldest daughter is now 21 and my youngest daughter is 12, and the two in the middle are 19 and 17, but each of them has reread that book in the last year! I think we have three copies of it, and I keep my eyes open for another one because I know that each of my girls will want to own this book some day.

Frances Tyrrell said...

What a delightful blog! I came here following the trail of reviews for Rumer Godden books, and found this oasis with many of my favorite titles on your shelf. Your Flame Trees find is a treasure.
This one I have not read but will look for now, my interest being piqued by your review.

Framed said...

Great review. I loved this book when I first read it as a young teenager and was thrilled when I found it on Amazon. It was so fun to read it again.

acornmoon said...

Thank you for the introduction, I shall certainly look out for this.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Oh, we have all loved this book!

Yvonne Blake said...

When I was in 5th grade, Kathryn Worth came to our school. It was then that I realized that authors were real people. It planted the seed of writing in my life.

I'd like to find more about Kathryn Worth, but I can hardly find anything about her. Does anybody have a link to her?
yvonblake (at) faithwriters (dot net