The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz

25163300I loved this so much. At first, the cover alone was so beautiful, so go right ahead and judge this book by the cover. Janet is bright but does not have a bright future. She lives with a father and brothers who are cruel and treat her terribly.  Any hope of furthering her education is shot down quickly by her father. She longs for something better and somehow finds the courage to set out and make it to Baltimore.  The wages she’s seen advertised for a hired girl seem outrageously high and she knows she is a good harder worker, so that’s what she sets her sights on.  Janet is fortunate to encounter quite a lot of good luck, but she’s also super plucky.  I loved  the fascinating historical stuff and details about being a hired girl. Janet is a devout Catholic and she land with a Jewish family. Each is practically unknown to the other and this was a wonderful aspect of the story.  As I read along I realized that this book reminded me so much of Anne of Green Gables. Not the same story, no, but Janet is so much like Anne. She’s smart and thirsts for knowledge, she forgets herself when she is excited and passionate and talks out of turn and forgets her station, she has exasperating adventures, she warms the hearts of a cranky old person, and she is crazy for romantic tales and feelings. Like Anne, Janet writes in a flowery way, and I can see that while I thought this book was fantastic it may have a specific audience rather than just flat out widespread YA appeal.

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