This book was part of a lot I bought at auction. A beautifully bound Sunday School prize from 1904.
The plot borrows from others – a few bits that could come from Charles Dickens, bits from children’s stories like Anne of Green Gables and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm – but it trots along at a nice pace.
The essence of the story is that 2 girls are orphaned and left to the care of their miser uncle who, as well as having a legitimate job also has an illicit career as a money lender. One girl is plain and good, the other seemingly empty headed and frivolous.
One of their father’s former colleagues end up teaching the girls and ends up being hated for his goodness by the uncle. The uncle implicates the teacher in a fraud, leading to imprisonment, but repents on his death bed and it all ends happily ever after.
This is generally a predictable story but the social commentary is interesting. There are a lot of references to God and doing God’s work/will, but I guess you’d expect that from an early 20th century Sunday School prize.
Despite the God-bothering I think the book has a moral that is still relevant today – be kind to others, do what you can to help those in need and help them to help themselves.
I wouldn’t pass this book to any of my honorary great-nieces or nephews to read. I think it would bore them. But I’m glad I read it.