JULIA'S MENDING by Kathy Lynn Emerson


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Like Understood Betsy, a pampered city-girl sojourns with farm relatives until her initial disgust is transformed to affection. In the summer of 1887, Julia, 12, is sent to stay with country cousins in upstate New York while her parents become Methodist missionaries to China. Accustomed to the affluence of her grandmother's Washington Square home, she gets off on the wrong foot both figuratively--by prissily insulting virtually everyone in a family with six children--and literally--by stumbling through the barn's hay hole and breaking her leg. By the time the leg has mended, she's begun to mend relations as well--first with the twins, who bring her an injured kitten to nurse; then with Simon, 14, an obstreperous tease who has been acting out to convince his mother that the ministry is not for him; and finally with Grace, whose room she must share. Emerson's understanding of family dynamics outstrips her style and attention to detail: Simon, pitched over the head of a suddenly-stopped horse, lands on his feet; Julia limps in one sentence but ""could walk normally"" in the next; the tiny kitten rescued in late summer is a notable mouser by mid-fall; in a family too frugal to provide schoolbooks for the children, the eldest has not only the use of a horse but an early bicycle. Worse, Julia's change of heart, though appropriate to the circumstances, is abrupt and unmotivated. Still, as a believable re-creation of life 100 years ago, this is an easily read, pleasant story.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1987
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Orchard/Watts