My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a delightful book about a red-headed orphan in the style of Little Orphan Annie and Anne of Green Gables . Hetty was left at a foundling home (which still exists)and was fostered out to a country family until she was six. The family had other foster children and one, Gideon, came together with Hetty when they were a few weeks old. Life on the farm was idyllic and although she was small, Hetty thrived. She was very attached to her brother, Jem, the youngest of the families biological children was about 5 years older than her. Even in this loving family, Hetty's impetuous nature and fiery temper led her into trouble. She was bright but headstrong.
Just before she was six, she and Gideon were sent back to the foundling home, an event that was devastating to both of them. The foundling home was regimented and unforgiving, especially for a child like Hetty. She got into one scrape after another and earned the enmity of the two of the most important matrons. The girls worked most of the day on household task which prepared them for life as servants, something that Hetty never intended to be.
This is a great book for girls, young and old. We feel for Hetty when her irrepressible personality is hammered into a mold not made for her. Today's children have little idea of the life of children of earlier and much harsher ages. The Hetty Feather series does a better job of showing that the orphanage system, however problematic, was better than previous ages when children as young as 4-5 were left to roam the streets, surviving as they could. Fostering the children under the age of 6 in a home was an enlightened step in the care of children.
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