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The Blythe Girls: Helen, Margy and Rose; or,…

The Blythe Girls: Helen, Margy and Rose; or, Facing the Great World (1925)

by Laura Lee Hope

Other authors: Thelma Gooch (Illustrator)

Series: Blythe Girls (1)

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Set in 1920s New York City, the twelve-book Blythe Girls series follows the story of three orphaned sisters who are forced to leave their childhood home on Long Island, and earn their living in the great Metropolis. Artistic Helen keeps house for her two younger sisters, while attempting to earn some money with her watercolors. Quick-tempered Margy unexpectedly finds herself the personal secretary to a wealthy older woman, and exuberant Rose gains a position as a shop girl at an exclusive department store. But all is not smooth sailing, and each girl must confront challenges and overcome difficulties, while remaining true to herself and to her sisters.

I enjoyed this first installment of the series immensely, and was especially struck, having just completed Lizette M. Edholm's Merriweather Girls series, by the fact that the "Blythe Girls" must all find employment of one kind or another. The struggle for survival is nicely balanced with the expanding social lives of the girls - the friends they make, and the possible romantic interests that develop. There is little depth here, and the narrative runs happily along at the surface level. But the story was entertaining for all that, and left me wanting to know what happened next. Sadly, the books in this series can be rather difficult to obtain.

Addendum: Having now amassed the first five titles in The Blythe Girls series, I decided to revisit this initial entry before continuing on with the subsequent volumes. I enjoyed it just as much on this second reading, and was particularly charmed by its portrayal of living and working in New York City, now that I am doing so as well. Reading about Helen, Margy and Rose hopping on and off subways, as I myself rode the subway to work, had definite appeal. Recommended to readers interested in vintage girls' series, particularly if they are also interested in girls who must earn their living in the world. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jun 26, 2013 |
Very mild and safe little tale of three sisters making their living in New York City in the 20's. Dated, yet kind of charming. Mostly of interest to me because it gave me an opportunity to imagine the kind of thing my grandmother might have read. ( )
  bunwat | Mar 30, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Laura Lee Hopeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gooch, ThelmaIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Poverty-stricken, Helen, Margy, and Rose Blythe move into a modest apartment in New York City. Helen hopes to improve as an artist and eventually sell her work, while Margy and Rose seek work. After weeks of difficulty, Rose wins a position in a department store, and Margy becomes the personal secretary of an eccentric elderly lady, Miss Pepper.
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