This diary of Jenny Lydstone, started in 1856 when she was eleven, is well enough written in that the reader always knows more than is directly stated. Jenny writes directly and explicitly about the events in her life, and tries to be generous in her descriptions. When Jenny was orphaned she was taken in by her only relatives, Cousin Doe and Cousin Gregory, to live in the luxurious Longcommon House. Gregory was gentle and amusing, but disliked unhappiness, and refused to take on responsibility. Doe was beautiful, shrewd, demanding, cruel in her many punishments, and completely heartless. Jenny was allowed no friends, and her affections were completely centered on her governess, Miss Summerdale. She speaks frequently of her desire to please, and of her hope that she will come to love Doe even though she can only hate her. But it is clear that Jenny is not weak and actually very precise and inflexible. Eventually, after Miss Summerdale was fired, Jenny rebelled against a particularly unjust punishment and ran away to her governess' home in London, rigidly refusing to return. From there on the story gets soft and a little contrived, as Gregory becomes involved with helping Jenny and the various underprivileged people she lives with, Does dies, and Jenny, Miss Summerdale, and various and sundry waifs are happily situated. The background is well visualized, Jenny has strong appeal, and this is a very pleasant, Victorian-style story.