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My Daughter, Nicola by Ruth M. Arthur
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My Daughter, Nicola

by Ruth M. Arthur

Other authors: Fermin Rocker (Illustrator)

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Convinced that her father did not love her because she was not born a boy, young Nicola Juler dreamed of the day when she could prove to him that daughters were as good as sons. Mostly content with her life in a small village - lying at the feet of "the most magnificent mountain in the whole of Switzerland," Nicola's days were filled with school during the winter, and caring for the dairy cows in the high pastures during the summer. But just as the Mountain was always there, a sort-of personality in its own right, so too was Nicola's conviction that her father's approval might be won through some act of daring. It was during one of her stays at the high-pasture summer-camp that the idea came to Nicola to climb down into the Mountain itself, into the old, long-abandoned mines....

Although this early novel by Ruth M. Arthur is one of the few in which she does not employ some supernatural element (to my knowledge, the other is The Little Dark Thorn), it does address some of the themes to which she would return in her later novels. The complicated workings of families - simultaneously joyful and pained - are handled with the sensitivity and humor that would become a hallmark of Arthur's work. The importance of compassion and tolerance, exemplified in this instance by Nicola's friendship with the Italian "other" Carlotta, is a theme the author revisited in later books as well. In sum: well-worth reading - the ending provides real emotional satisfaction. It is a shame that this author remains out-of-print.

Another note: although almost all of Arthur's novels were illustrated by the excellent Margery Gill, this was the exception, with black and white drawings by Fermin Rocker. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jun 5, 2013 |
I remembered liking this better than I actually did. It's awfully slight as far as stories go. I do love the way Arthur brings a certain mannered formality to her stories, and this one's no exception. The plot, though, was lacking. Nicola, for no discernible reason, decides that the way to win her father's love is to find an entrance into the abandoned mine on the mountain. An odd little story. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ruth M. Arthurprimary authorall editionscalculated
Rocker, FerminIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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A well-told, curiously absorbing story of a girl brought up in a mountain village in Switzerland.
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