The Betsy-Tacy Books by Maud Hart Lovelace: An Appreciation

Revisiting the Deep Valley novels by Maud Hart Lovelace (1892 – 1980) during the winter holiday season is a particular delight, though this American author’s stories can be enjoyed year-round. Perhaps better known as the Betsy-Tacy books, the themes celebrated in these nostalgic novels for young readers are universal: friendship, devotion, love of home, ambition, and comfort.

Though the novels were published in the 1940s, they take place in the early years of the twentieth century, when the author herself was growing up. As young girls, her well-known heroines—Betsy, Tacy, and Tib—have ten cents to spend on Christmas shopping. As they grow up, in Betsy and Joe (1948), for instance, they have “real shopping” to do, but their trip downtown is as “heavily weighted with tradition as a Christmas pudding with plums.”

They visit every store (including Cook’s Book Store) and price “everything from diamonds to gumdrops, and bought, each one, a Christmas tree ornament … savoring Christmas together all up and down Front Street.” It’s a simple and comforting ritual. Read More→


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Maud Hart Lovelace

Maud Hart Lovelace (April 25, 1892 – March 11, 1980) was an American author best known for the nostalgic Betsy-Tacy series of books for girls.

Born and raised in Mankato, Minnesota, she enjoyed a happy childhood filled with friends, culture, and a loving family. As soon as she could hold a pencil, she began writing stories and poems.

Maud Hart started her college studies at the University of Minnesota but shortly thereafter had to withdraw when she was diagnosed with appendicitis. More than willing to take a break from her studies and continue her recuperation at her maternal grandmother’s home, she escaped to the sun and warmth of California to rest and recover. Read More→


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Quotes from Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy Novels

Maud Hart Lovelace (1892-1980) sold her first story to the New York Times at age eighteen. She dropped out of college to travel to Europe to write, honing her skills that would ultimately culminate in creating the Betsy-Tacy series of books.

Born and raised in Mankato, Minnesota, Maud enjoyed a happy childhood filled with friends, culture, and a loving family.  Imaginative and creative, she began writing stories and poems at an early age.

Generations of readers have loved her books for their simple, old-fashioned charm. Here are some quotes from a selection of her beloved Betsy novels.

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The Black Angels (1926) by Maud Hart Lovelace

From the original review in The Oakland Tribune, Nov. 1926:  In the eighties the theatre-loving world was on what might be termed a Pinafore jag. Light opera troupes, specializing in the presentation of the Gilbert and Sullivan musical hit, toured the land by the dozens. Some were good, many were bad, and a few were excellent.

The latter, however, never found their way back into the Middle West or back country sections, but the former did in scattered bands. And it is with this little known phase of early American middle western life that Maud Hart Lovelace deals in her novel The Black Angels. Read More→


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Emily of Deep Valley by Maud Hart Lovelace (1950)

From the original review in Newport Daily News, March 1951: This is the poignant story, by Maud Hart Lovelace, of a girl who has a difficult adjustment to make, and makes it with courage and success. Emily Webster was an orphan who lived with her grandfather, a Civil War veteran.

When the story opens she is graduating from high school in the class of 1912. She is a class officer and she goes with a merry crowd of girls. Many of the class go off to college, but Emily, although she longs for more education, will not leave her grandfather. Read More→


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