The last guest blog for the month of March. I meant to post this yesterday but did not have the time to. Diana Peterfreund is the author of Rampant and the Secret Society Girl series. Enjoy!
One of my favorite books that I read when I was younger was called A GIRL OF THE LIMBERLOST, by Gene Stratton Porter. Never heard of it? You’re not alone. Often, when I get into conversations with fellow lovers of L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables) I bring it up. Crickets. Only once was I successful, and that was because I was talking to a girl from Indiana, a state that apparently counts Stratton Porter—who aside from being an author was also a naturalist photographer and wetlands conservationist—as one of their hometown heroes.
Why haven’t more people read this book? It’s about this awesome girl named Elnora Comstock who rises above neglect and abuse on the country farm where she was raised, goes to high school and college (which she pays for herself by collecting, cataloging, and selling moth and plant specimens in the nearby Limberlost swamp), teaches herself to play the violin, reconciles with her embittered mother, and romances a rich young man from Chicago who comes to the country to recover from “brain fever.” Oh, and there are endless descriptions of marvelous food and fabulous frocks. My goodness, but there are pretty frocks in this book. One is even designed to look like a particularly gorgeous moth. Except it’s worn by the villain. Whatever.
This book ignited my love for historical novels, especially depicting the Gilded Age of America. Now, whenever I read one of the Anna Godbersen books, I think to myself, wouldn’t it be awesome if Diana Holland went off to collect some moths just like Elnora Comstock? (And then made eeeeeeevil Penelope wear a dress she designed at a ball she gives for Henry? Just saying.) And if you were a fan of the later “Anne” books, where Anne goes off to college and engages in all manner of romantic entanglements, you’ll love A Girl of the Limberlost as well.
Food and frocks and family secrets and wetlands conservation, people. Check it out.