Tag Archives: Maud Hart Lovelace

Review: Betsy-Tacy 9 and 10 by Maud Hart Lovelace

Betsy and the Great World Betsys Wedding

  • Betsy and the Great World
  • Betsy’s Wedding

I’m satisfied and a bit wistful at seeing the end of the Betsy-Tacy books.

Betsy and the Great World is by far my favorite of the series.  I think it is accessible for someone that hasn’t read the other books– if you aren’t sure you want to read them all, I’d suggest starting here.  If you fall in love with Betsy, then go back and fill in.

This book starts about three years after Betsy and Joe.  A bout of appendicitis in freshman year throws Betsy off her stride, and she never really settles into college life.  Her parents realize she isn’t getting what she needs to develop as a writer, and suggest taking a year to travel as an alternative.  Betsy and Joe are no longer a couple, and she is really on her own as she sets off to Europe– not as part of a tour, but truly on her own.

None of the other characters of the series make more than brief appearances, and those are almost entirely in their letters or in Betsy’s head.  Instead, we are introduced to the people and places that Betsy encounters as she travels around Europe.

Using Betsy’s eyes to see Europe and the people she meets was amazing.  She is truly out of her element.  Her first stop is Germany.  She’s homesick, her contact has moved on, she can find only one other English speaker, and she finds she has forgotten the German she learned in high school.  She still works on her writing, sees the sights, and makes friends.  As she travels, she experiments with romance, using her experiences to understand her own heart.

The book takes place in 1914, and Europe is preparing for WWI.   The beginning of the war forces Betsy to cut her trip short– or maybe end it just in time.

Reading Betsy’s Wedding was a very different experience.  For most of the book, it felt  like an extended epilogue to the series, nicely wrapping up the lives of the primary characters from the books.  It was nice and cozy, but somehow the spark of Betsy taking on challenges wasn’t there as she settled into life as a wife.

This changes at the very end, as everyone faces the implications of America entering WWI.

In both books, I  was fascinated by seeing this look at WWI from a much closer era– the books were written after WWII, so the author did have some benefit of hindsight, but it is still a different perspective.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned before how much I’ve enjoyed the introductions by various contemporary authors, and the end notes with historical and biographical notes.  I particularly appreciate the notes in this volume.

Betsy-Tacy go over the Big HillI’ve now reviewed the entire series:

I know there are other related books, and I may track those down, just to be complete.  What I really loved about these books was Betsy, and I just don’t know if they’ll be the same.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for sending me the Betsy-Tacy books to read and review!  I had a wonderful time with them.


Posted by on October 13, 2009 in books, reviews


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Review: Betsy and Joe (Betsy-Tacy 8) by Maud Hart Lovelace

Betsy was a Junior Betsy and JoeIf you aren’t familiar with the Betsy-Tacy books, you might want to check out my reviews of the previous books: the first four, the fifth, and the sixth & seventh.

Betsy and Joe continues with Betsy and company in their senior year of high school.

Older sister Julia is off in Europe learning to be an opera singer and is exercising her writing skills keeping the family up to date. Younger sister Margaret is beginning to figure out who she is– she’s musical, she’s a good student, but she doesn’t have the passion for a specific area like her sisters do.

Betsy has had some challenges in previous years, but life is coming together for her.  School is going well, and she has not just one but two boys she cares for showing interest in her.  She’s now the big sister at home. She’s learned a lot, but still ends up hurting people she cares for, and has to figure out what she can do to make things right.

This is my favorite Betsy-Tacy book so far, but it isn’t due to the plot, or details of the events that call to me (although I loved the scene where Betsy runs into Joe at Willard’s Emporium, where they first met).  It is seeing Betsy grow.  She still has all of her spirit and dreams, but she has more perspective  now.

I’m looking forward to the final two books, to see what happens to Betsy and the world she lives in.  I’ll keep you posted!

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing these books for review!


Posted by on October 7, 2009 in books, reviews, tour


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Review: Betsy-Tacy 6 and 7 by Maud Hart Lovelace

Heavens To Betsy In Spite of Herself

Those that have seen the new two-in-one volumes will note that this is a strange combination to be reviewing together, since these two books are not grouped together.  I’ll just say that it seemed to work better that way for me!

Betsy was a Junior Betsy and JoeBetsy in Spite of Herself and Betsy Was a Junior cover Betsy’s Sophomore and Junior years in High School.

As in Heaven to Betsy, Betsy continues to struggle with her priorities. She wants to be a writer. She wants to be a good student. She wants to be popular. She particularly wants to be popular with boys.

Betsy makes some good decisions and some bad ones, and works her way through it all with her wonderful spirit.

Of course, the rest of “the crowd” that Betsy socializes with are here, but better yet, Betsy and Tacy’s other best friend Tib returns! Betsy goes to visit Tib in Milwaukee in Betsy in Spite of Herself, then Tib moves back to Deep Valley in Betsy Was a Junior.

If you enjoyed Heaven to Betsy, be sure to continue on with these books.

If you are considering reading the Betsy-Tacy books (whether as re-reads or for the first time), consider checking out The Maud Hart Lovelace Reading Challenge.  This is a chance to share your reading experience with others– I’m having fun with other challenges I’m participating in.  I’m signing up myself, even though I feel like I’m cheating because I’m almost done reading them!

The re-release of these books has led to some celebrations in the Betsy-Tacy community.  If you are nearby, you might want to check out

11/7      Highland Village, TX Barnes and Noble
11/8      St. Paul, MN at the Red Balloon Bookshop
4/17/10 Dallas, TX, Dallas Heritage Village

For more reviews and celebration of the Betsy-Tacy books, check out the other tour stops:

tlc-logoI’ve already reviewed the first 4 Betsy Tacy Books (children’s books introducing Betsy, Tacy and Tib) and Heaven to Betsy (where the books change from books for children to books for teens). Check back for reviews of the remaining three books!

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for sending me the Betsy-Tacy books to read and review!  I’m having a wonderful time with them.


Posted by on October 5, 2009 in books, reviews, tour


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Heaven To Betsy (Betsy-Tacy 5) by Maud Hart Lovelace

Heaven To Betsy In Spite of Herself

Earlier, I commented on the first four Betsy-Tacy books, the children’s books. Now, I’m moving on to the next book in the series.

Heaven To Betsy marks the transition of the series from books aimed at children to more of teen audience. Another two years have passed, and much has happened from age 12 to age 14. Betsy is starting High School, and has turned the corner from child to young woman.

Betsy is now crazy about boys and her worried about appearance, about being popular in general. Her family has moved into town, and she’s no longer across the street from Tacy. Tib has moved away (or “poofed”, as my daughter says). Betsy and her sister Julia are now good friends, as opposed to always bickering in the past books. There is a whole new cast of characters.

The change in the books is deeper than that. Betsy is starting to reflect on the person that she wants to be. She has trouble figuring out what is important, and in sticking to a plan once she makes it. In short, she’s a relatively normal 14 year old.

In Heaven To Betsy, Betsy explores the social scene at various churches in the area. Although her family is Baptise, she and her sister join the Episcopal church, and find that it resonates with them. They ask their parents’ permission to change churches.

Betsy sets aside her long-standing desire to become a writer, because none of her new friends are interested in such things. Later events cause her to look inside herself to see whether this is really what she wants.

As an adult, I found this book a highly enjoyable read.

My 11 year old daughter read it as well, and she liked it, but with more reservations.

She thought the gap between Betsy and Tacy go Downtown and Heaven To Betsy was too big, and that too much had changed. She was particularly annoyed that Tib had “poofed” without more explanation. She thought that all of the new characters made it almost like the first book of a new series.

tlc-logoI think she’ll enjoy the later books more in another year. Like Tacy, my daughter doesn’t (yet) understand all of the fuss over boys, and isn’t (yet) feeling the pull of changing herself to suit others. She’s not seeing much of it with her peers, either. She read Betsy in Spite of Herself on her own, but has since drifted off to other books. I’m not going to push it now, I’ll just remind her of them later.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to review these books!


Posted by on October 4, 2009 in books, reviews


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(mini) Reviews: The first four Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace

Betsy-tacyThe first four books:

  • Betsy-Tacy
  • Betsy-Tacy and Tib
  • Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill
  • Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown

Somehow I never found the Betsy-Tacy books as a child. I would have loved them when I was young.

For those that missed them as well, these tell the story of Betsy, a young girl at the turn of the century. Not the recent one, but 100 years ago (the books were written in the 1940s).  Her best friend Tacy lives across the street.  They are very nice books about their experiences in a small town.

Betsy-Tacy and TibNice doesn’t mean that nothing bad happens.  A baby sibling dies, issues of bullying and racism are addressed. Sibling rivalry is an ongoing issue.  But all in all, I think nice still describes them well.

Betsy-Tacy begins when the girls are 5, and these first books each skip forward a couple of years.  In Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown, they are 12.  The girls grow up, and the situations and language used grow more complex with each one.

Betsy-Tacy go over the Big HillI was surprised at how modern? progressive? these books are.  The girls are encouraged to become friends with someone from another culture, and when Tib damages her beautiful new dress standing up for someone who is being picked on,  her parents tell her that’s how they want her to behave.  The three girls all have ideas of having a career when they grow up.

They still give a picture of another era, where young girls are free to roam the neighborhood and beyond.  There are no cars, and telephones are relatively new on the scene.  The people are still very much the same.

Betsy-Tacy go DowntownI discovered these first four books when my daughter was around 8, I don’t remember exactly when. I read the first couple with her, but she grew impatient and read the others to herself. She began to lose interest as the girls got older, and since the later books were hard to find, we ended up setting them aside.

Then and now, I thoroughly enjoyed these four books as cute books for children.  They read very quickly and bring a smile to my face.  I’d only pick them up as an adult if I was looking for the simplicity of a child’s view or to lay the groundwork for the later books.

My daughter (now 11) adored the first three books when she read them.   She was jumping up and down excited when these four books came in the mail.

Her comment now is that she likes all four of these early books, but both then and now, the book she liked best is whichever one Betsy and Tacy are closest to her own age.    She also really likes how seeing the friendship between the three girls develops.

I wanted to add that ever since she read about the girls and their paper dolls, she requests any catalog we didn’t want any more, so she can cut out the people or use the scenery.  Even now, men dolls are much harder to come by, and she gets frustrated by close up shots where people are missing feet or entire limbs.

I was thrilled to hear that the last 6 books were being reissued, particularly since my daughter is now (at 11) of more of an age to enjoy them herself.  I was even more excited to be part of the TLC Book Tour.  Thank you for this opportunity.

I’m officially scheduled for a tour stop reviewing Betsy and Joe, the eighth Betsy-Tacy book on October 6.  I’ll be posting reviews of books 5, 6, and 7 this weekend.  You can also check out the other tour stops:


Posted by on October 2, 2009 in books, reviews, tour


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