Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Miss Billy (1911)

Miss Billy. Eleanor H. Porter. 1911. Dodo Press. 208 pages.

Miss Billy (1911) is a pleasant romance by Eleanor H. Porter, an author perhaps better known for her children's novel Pollyanna (1913). Billy becomes an orphan around the age of eighteen. She has no living relatives, but she still needs a family, wants a family. She decides to write one of her father's college friends, a friend she was named after. Her name *is* Billy. Her namesake, William Henshaw, is living with his two younger brothers, Cyril and Bertram. (Also making up the household is Pete, the butler, and Dong Ling the cook.) Her letter reveals her eagerness, her expectation, her hope to come and live with the Henshaw family in Boston. Her letter doesn't reveal her gender. I don't think Billy even thought that her name might be ambiguous enough to cause confusion. They send her the message to come, and then comes the big surprise. What will a houseful of men do with an eighteen year old girl? Well, they'll call their sister to beg her to be chaperon for a night or two perhaps. But then they'll see what spinster relative they can bring into their home along with this newcomer and her cat. Aunt Hannah will suit nicely. The first part of the novel focuses on how Miss Billy changes things up for these three men. How she brings life and excitement to them all, making the house feel more like a home. The second part of the novel, however, focuses on the all-too-absent Billy. For after a big misunderstanding, Billy decides to live elsewhere using college and then European travels as an excuse to stay away from the Henshaw brothers. The third part of the novel is set when Billy is twenty-one or twenty-two, she's return to Boston and bought her own home and is establishing herself quite well. It is the third part of the novel that focuses on Billy's love life...

It is a pleasant, enjoyable novel. Miss Billy is vivacious and lovely. And the three brothers are interesting as well. At least two of the three brothers are unsociable and a bit awkward until helped by Miss Billy. Cyril being thought to be interested only in music; Bertram being thought to be interested only in art; William being thought to be interested only in collecting various objects for his huge collection. There are a few good minor characters as well, including the very domestic music teacher. The only minor character I didn't like is the sister, Kate, who is almost always the source of confusion and misunderstanding...

Read Miss Billy
  • If you like orphan stories (like Anne of the Island, Daddy Long-Legs, etc.)
  • If you like light romances (or clean romances)
  • If you've read Pollyanna and want to read more from Eleanor H. Porter
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comment:

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Well! I didn't know Porter wrote such! In fact, I guess I'm unfamiliar with anything by her except Pollyanna. Thanks for te review. This sounds enjoyable.