Set on a farm in Southern Illinois during the 1880's, this is a warm and nostalgic story of a farm family and their neighbors. Episodic in form, these are the recollections of the heroine, then a child, a convincing blending of fact and fancy. Her devotion to a champion horse, her friendship with a charming gypsy girl who must settle the conflict between her Romany spirit and her adopted Illinois ways, the death of a mother, the excitement that comes with the turn of the seasons, the delight in old and authentic ballads -- these are all here seen through the eyes of the little Hellion, who by the end of the book is thirteen, newly kissed, and well on the way to being a fine and generous woman. Mabel Thompson Rauch brings spontaneity and warmth to her subject, evoking the richness of that time in American history when society was simple enough to allow for intimate community life and yet sufficiently stable to permit cultural and social exploration. A delightful book with a natural and winning heroine.