A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter.
I enjoyed this old-fashioned read immensely. A Girl of the Limberlost was the best-selling companion novel to Freckles, and published in 1909. I didn't realize that a few characters from Freckles would show up, and haven't read it yet, but this book is excellent in it's own right.
Such well developed characters! I loved them all! Wesley Sinton cracked me up in the scene after they give gifts to Elnora. He reminded me of my dad there. And Elnora -- the main character -- has spunk and sass and skillz and sympathy. The novel follows her from her first day of high school through two summers after her graduation.
One of my favorite things about the book was the moral fiber of the characters. They're doing their level best to be good people. A friend and I were recently talking about Twilight -- she had read and enjoyed it, and wanted some recommendations. She had tried another vampire series (I honestly don't remember which) and been put off by the coarseness of its characters. She said the books didn't have "objectionable material" in them, but the characters just lacked the moral fiber she had enjoyed. I knew just what she meant.
This book has moral fiber by the bushel. (Also descriptions of fancy hats!) If you don't like strong people with good ethics, don't read it! It has seriously been inspiring me all day today. And that's when you know a book is a keeper -- when it sticks with you after you close it and you're glad for the company. Or, you know, when it makes you talk funny. I always speak with a British accent when after I've read Wodehouse, say "So." after reading McKay, and today I told my son that "One bar of soap is sufficient," when he wanted one for each hand in the bath.
Oh, also the romance is totally wonderful! It doesn't consume the book, is never objectionable, and fulfills the "why do they even like each other" requirement. Some books leave you wondering on that last one -- not here. *contented sigh*
Free and legal online here
Previously reviewed The Keeper of the Bees