Author(s): Kate Douglas Wiggin
Often compared to L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables and published four years afterwards, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm introduces us to a charming ten-year-old heroine who changes the lives of all those she touches. Set in Riverboro, Maine, this quintessentially American story is a remarkable depiction of rural life in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. We first meet Rebecca when she is on her way to live with her spinster aunts, Miranda and Jane. She has just left behind her the beloved home she grew up in, Sunnybrook Farm, along with her widowed mother and six siblings. Due to the financial straits her family have found themselves in, it has been deemed best that her aunts take her in and look after her under their own roof. A naturally cheerful and imaginative little girl, Rebecca soon forms a close bond with her Aunt Jane who teaches her to sew, cook and look after the house. In turn, Rebecca unwittingly reopens Aunt Jane's eyes to the beauty and joy of life again. Her natural wit and charm soon endear Rebecca to the people of the village too, who are struck by her positivity in all things. However there remains a shadow over Rebecca's happiness: the fact that she has never quite won over her Aunt Miranda's affections. Aunt Miranda is baffled by her niece's vivid imagination, and childish wonder at all she sees. But slowly Rebecca is growing up into a mature and thoughtful young lady. And when her mother falls ill and Rebecca is forced to look after her old farmstead home as well as her ailing mother, it may just be that Miranda has grown fond of her niece after all, and is willing to help in the most heartrending way.
'May I thank you for Rebecca?... I would have quested the wide world over to make her mine, only I was born too long ago and she was born but yesterday' Jack London 'Beautiful and warm and satisfying' Mark Twain
Kate Douglas Wiggin (1856 - 1923) was an American author, scholar and songwriter. A lifelong advocate of innovations in children's education, she set up and ran the first free kindergarten in California for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Today she is best known for her children's book, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.