Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin (1903)

Rebecca of Sunnybrook farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin -cover

From the original review of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin in The Saint Paul Globe, November 1903:  For anyone suffering with the blues one could not do better than to prescribe this last book of Kate Douglas Wiggin, with the certainty that it would effect a cure.

The writer may have done better work than this, but surely she never created a more wholly delightful character than Rebecca. There is nothing unnatural about Rebecca, because once in a while we meet someone entirely original, absolutely different from anyone else, and that is Rebecca.


A classic tale of an orphan and spinster aunts

Rebecca is one of a large family in a small New England village, and ever since she can remember there has been a baby to undress at night and dress in the morning.

Her father dies at the opening of the story, and at the outset we find Rebecca starting in the stage — driven by stout Mr. Cobb — for Riverboro, where she is going to live with her mother’s two maiden sisters. Miss Miranda and Miss Jane are two unique characters in themselves; Miss Miranda is a typical old maid, but Miss Jane is softer, as she had been engaged and her lover was killed in the war.

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Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm on Amazon

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Rebecca melts hearts

Into this prim, precise household Rebecca enters like a summer breeze, and from that time on there is “something doing,” to use the slang of the day.

Whether at school, at home, in disgrace, or in high favor, Rebecca is always delightful and highly original. She makes conquests of everyone, from old Mr. Cobb, the stage driver who adores her, to a young man “from the city” who is in the country visiting his aunt.

Rebecca is considerable of a trial to her Aunt Miranda, and truth to tell, her stiff maiden aunt is a sore trial to Rebecca. But in the end it all comes right, and even the cross Miss Miranda falls under Rebecca’s spell, and dying, leaves her the brick house and all it contains within and without.

The book ends just as Rebecca is seventeen, having lost none of her childish charm, and the reader will hope for the sequel, which the writer will undoubtedly give us, telling of Rebecca grown up.

One book like this is an excellent antidote for all the prurient trash with which we are flooded, and everyone who likes a fresh, sweet story will say “thank heaven there is a Kate Douglas Wiggin.”

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New Chronicles of Rebecca by Kate Douglas Wiggin

See also: New Chronicles of Rebecca by Kate Douglas Wiggin

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