My friend recommended this book to me months ago. We were in the middle of another book, so as soon as we finished the other one we started Understood Betsy.
I absolutely LOVED this book. My daughters LOVED this book, my sons endured this book, until the end, then they really liked it. The girls and I are so outnumbered with the boys that a lot of our books tend to be more masculine, so it was a nice change to have a more feminine book.
This book was written in 1916 by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. It tells the story of the nine year old orphan, Elizabeth Ann. She lives with two of her aunts who are very protective. She is a small and scared child.
One of her aunts becomes ill and she has to go live with the Putney cousins on their farm. It is a very different lifestyle from what she was used to in the city. Her aunts have told her how horrible the Putneys are. Elizabeth is very apprehensive to go and stay with them.
From her first encounter with the Putneys she is already becoming a different person. Uncle Henry had her take the reins to the horses while he had some "figgering" to do, a skill Elizabeth didn't have. She was terrified and made a mistake, Uncle Henry did nothing. She quickly learned from it, and figured out how to drive the horses. I love this quote from the book, "It is possible that what stirred inside her head at that moment was her brain, waking up. She was nine years old, and she was in the third A grade at school, but that was the first time she had ever had a whole thought of her very own."
Like I said, my daughters and I instantly loved the book from the first chapter. My boys didn't warm up to the book until 3/4 of the way through. Then they plead for me to finish it because they needed to know what happens.