An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott
This review is for Tarissa's annual Louisa May Alcott June challenge.
I really enjoyed this charming and relaxing story although it is easy to see why it isn't as popular as the wonderful Little Women. It is a bit 'preachy' at times, and rather a long story. It could have done with more editing, perhaps.
When Polly Milton, our heroine, goes to stay with the Shaws, she finds them puzzling. She is used to hard-working country people who don't have much money, and don't have time for 'fripperies'. The Shaws appear to her to be frivolous, except for the father and the lovely grandmother, and concerned about unimportant things. Although very friendly with Fran and Tom, she feels like an outsider because Tom teases her, and Fran likes pretty clothes and gossip.
Polly and the Shaws remain friends as she grows up, and Tom is also friendly with her brother Will. Polly becomes an independent piano teacher with her own residence while wealthy Fran is supposed to go to parties and balls, and look for a husband. Poor Polly is looked down on and patronised for working, and can't afford fashionable clothes, so she struggles with despair. However, she manages to find her 'tribe', a group of independent, career-minded women, and she copes with a certain jealous creature given to spiteful barbs admirably. A very modern woman, Polly is happy to remain a 'spinster', and teach piano all her life, but will she find love...?
Polly is such a warm-hearted, sweet girl with all the right values, that you can't help loving her character. Most of the characters are likeable, but Louisa May Alcott is certainly good at portraying nasty women given to snide remarks! I hope to watch the film soon, and see what it's like. This book could be made into an excellent series!