Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

rebeccaNo one I know has read this book! In fact, online book groups and fora and whatnot all compare it–unfavorably–to the Anne of Green Gables series.

I’ll have to respectfully disagree with that. Apples and oranges, I say. For one thing, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is only one volume, and it has a much smaller scope than L. M Montgomery’s series (which I also loved.)

Rebecca Rowena Randall is the second oldest of a single-parent family. Her father, against whom she will hear no criticism, was too frivolous to be prosperous, and his untimely death left her mother with too many mouths to feed. Her mother’s two older sisters, the strict Miranda and the more kind-hearted Jane, offer to take Rebecca’s older sister Hannah, but they wind up with Rebecca instead.

Unlike the quiet, dutiful Hannah, Rebecca is whimsical, deep-thinking, and creative, At first, she feels very out of place with her aunts, and they seem to disapprove of everything she does. Eventually, she grows in wisdom and sees her aunts in a more compassionate light–and they her. In ways she–and they–never imagined, the opportunity provided by her aunts is indeed the “making of her.” Her adventures–both happy and sad–are funny and poignant, and the emotional climax will bring even the most hardened reader to tears.

If you enjoyed Anne of Green Gables, definitely read Kate Douglas Wiggins’ Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Just don’t compare them too closely. Rebecca will win your heart all on her own.

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