Friday, March 22, 2013

Reading Journal: Emily of Deep Valley by Maud Hart Lovelace

Book Description:
Emily Webster, an orphan living with her grandfather, is not like the other girls her age in Deep Valley, Minnesota. After graduation, she longs to join the Crowd and go off to college—but she can't leave her grandfather alone at home. Resigning herself to a "lost winter," Emily nonetheless throws herself into a new program of study and a growing interest in the local Syrian community, and when she meets a handsome new teacher at the high school, Emily gains more than she ever dreamed possible.
My thoughts:
If you are familiar with the Deep Valley Stories you will know that Emily of Deep Valley: A Deep Valley Book  by Maud Hart Lovelace is a much more serious story compared to Betsy Ray of the Betsy-Tacy books.

Emily struggles with depression when everyone goes off to college and she is left caring for her grandfather. She also secretly in love with a young man who is handsome, but very shallow and extremely moody. As Emily "improves" herself she begins to take interest into thing around her, which opens the door for new friends, opportunities, and eventually love.

Right up front I'm going to say that as much as I enjoyed reading about Emily, she does not replace Betsy Ray in any way, shape, or form. I love the Betsy books (listed in my Top 10 Most Infuential Books), especially from her high school years and on. That being said there were many things I appreciated about Emily.

First off was her love and dedication to her grandfather. When he was worried about her not going to college she refused to leave him. She also had such great pride in his military service. Another was refusing to sit around and do nothing. Yes, she struggled at first but refused to stay in that rut and worked on ways to "improve" or self-educate herself.  Lastly, was her willingness to not let prejudice stand in the way of reaching out to those who were different than her. She made friends with the Syrian boys, which eventually led to speaking up in her community to get them help that they needed in learning English.

Emily is a very realistic heroine and you can't help but admire her loyalty and tenacity. Her story is a little more realistic and down to earth.  It is too bad that today's young adult (which is what this book would have been in its day) fictional heroines weren't more like her. Highly recommended!

Reading to Know - Book Club


  1. Oh, I love Emily, too. I haven't read the Betsy books past Go Downtown, so I have those to look forward to!

    Oh, and I wanted to tell you that I enjoyed your homeschooling series (games, hands-on, when life falls apart), but I was reading on my iPad or something and it's a pain to comment.

  2. Yes! Definitely too bad that today's fictional heroines aren't more like Emily! I thought this book was awesome. And I may like it more than Betsy-Tacy (at least, when they are older) but then I didn't grow up with them. There is a charm about B-T's childhood though that I really, really loved.



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