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Nicola is an attractive heroine for girls of this age group for she does exciting, unusual things but has normal and understandable problems. She comes from a tiny, mountain village in Switzerland where she lives with her grandparents because her mother is dead and her father has elected to live in Berne where he is a clockmaker. She adores her father without reserve, and when he returns home is determined to gain his affection. Because of her small size she was easily led into battle, a tendency which she knew her father, who had wanted a son, admired. Thus she hit upon the idea of accomplishing something which would have been difficult even for a boy -- a treacherous bit of mountain climbing. The story is told in the first person past tense by the now elderly Nicola, but like many genuine reminiscences, details have been softened and unhappiness is seen through a nostalgic glow, Her descriptions of the village are pleasantly quaint and immediately visual; her love of the mountain and for her old grandfather who taught her to climb it has tenderness and depth. Her relationship with her father is less than satisfactorily explained. The girl's undoubted frustration is only hinted at obliquely, and her father's change of attitude is not developed in the story at all. It is a very readable, picturesque story but will not be adequate for those who have suffered from being not quite what their parents wanted.

Pub Date: Sept. 7th, 1965
Publisher: Atheneum