Mollie's chief claim to fame is the rather negative achievement of having been born to the family of a man who would some day be President. However the author saves her subject and her book from insignificance by having captured the flavor of a time and a place. The Garfields were dedicated letter writers and iary keepers. Much of what the young Garfields wrote is reproduced here. They wrote without guile and speak for their time as well as to ours. In writing of President Garfield's assassination and lingering death, the fictionalizer might have had a melodramatic field day. The words taken from the diaries of his sons and daughter have an immediacy and shock value that it would be difficult to invent. When Mollie began to fall in love with Mr. Brown, her father's private secretary, she confided to her journal, ""Last week nearly every day I had a fit of the mumps... the main reason is that I miss Mr. Brown so much"". That has the ring of true love and later they married. The author has an inside track as the subject's daughter, but her selection from the mass of Garfield papers shows the marks of careful research. Along the way she describes the customs, family living and the politics of one of the least emphasized periods in American history.