Monday, April 9, 2018

Review - - Marry in Scandal



Marry in Scandal
By Anne Gracie
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Reviewed by Janga




Lily Rutherford sees herself as fat, stupid, and unattractive, but she dreams of finding someone she can love who will love her as she is. Her Aunt Augusta, a harridan with social influence, is determined to see Lily, her sister Rose, and Georgiana, their niece and contemporary, married advantageously. She hopes that the fortune Lily will inherit will offset the eighteen-year-old’s deplorably lush curves and the shameful handicap of her illiteracy. To everyone’s surprise, gentle Lily refuses to cancel her plans to meet a former schoolmate at a ball in order to accommodate Aunt Augusta’s scheme to introduce her nieces to a duke and his friend during an opera visit.

Lily’s rare show of independence is almost her undoing. Her foolish friend introduces Lily to a scoundrel who dupes the heiress, drugs her, and abducts her, planning to force her into a Gretna Green marriage. Lily is frightened, but she proves her intelligence and resourcefulness by escaping from her abductor and his henchman. Just as they are about to recapture her, Edward Galbraith, her brother Cal’s rakish friend and best man at his wedding, rescues her.

Edward, in true hero fashion, eliminates the villains with ease, but he is left with the problem of returning Lily to her home without anyone knowing that she has traveled in his company without a chaperone. Edward almost succeeds in maintaining the secret, but just as victory is in sight, he and Lily are spotted by Aunt Augusta’s most formidable social rival who can’t wait to spread scurrilous gossip. Edward has no desire to be married, but, despite his reputation, he is a man of honor who cannot see an innocent ruined. He genuinely likes and respects Lily, and he is uncomfortably aware of the attractions of her curvy body. However, he believes that love is not for him. He makes certain Lily understands exactly what he is offering when he proposes that they marry.

Lily, of course, has fallen hard for Edward. Ignoring her family’s doubts and with the example of her besotted brother and his convenient bride in mind, she agrees to marry Edward. Will she see her marriage of convenience transform into a love match? Lily just may prove competent even for this daunting task.

Anne Gracie has written another winner! Despite a kidnapping plot that comes distressingly close to melodrama with a villain who is little more than a handy device, the second marriage-of-convenience tale is a charming story of two likable characters who deserve their HEA. Edward is an appealing hero, a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars whose scars are deeper than anyone suspects. However, Lily is the heart of this book. She begins as a shy girl with a crippling lack of self-esteem, but as life tests her, she grows into a woman of strength and self-knowledge who has the courage and the wisdom she needs to fight for what she wants most. Lily totally won my heart. She is one of my favorite Gracie heroines, right up there with Kate Farleigh (Gallant Waif), Lady HelenNellFreymore (His Captive Lady), and Daisy Chance (The Summer Bride).

A superlative cast of secondary characters offer additional reasons to love this book. Gracie fans will be happy to see more of Cal and Emmaline (Marry in Haste) and to see the connection to characters from the Chance Sisters series expanded. Rose and George become increasingly interesting, leaving readers eager for their stories. Gracie has a history of creating well-drawn, memorable older women characters, and in this book, she adds an older man to her repertoire. Edward’s grandfather is a dear, a kind, caring man who loves his grandson enough to respect his autonomy.

If you enjoy historical romance with characters who will steal your heart and a story that
will leave you laughing at times and wiping away tears at times, if your favorite stories are those in which the hero and heroine rescue each other, I highly recommend this book.

~~~~~~~~~~~


Q&A with Anne Gracie




Janga: Lily won my heart from the prologue on. She may be my favorite Anne Gracie heroine ever. I can recall several historical romances in which the hero has a learning disability, usually dyslexia, but it is much rarer to see a heroine with such a problem. Was Lily inspired by your experience teaching adults to read? 

Anne: I'm delighted you love her, Janga - - and yes, she was partly inspired by my teaching experiences. The bravery with which she faced her difficulties was inspired by so many of my adult literacy students. It takes courage to seek out a reading class as an adult with a long history of failure behind you. These days most people understand a reading disability has nothing to do with being stupid, but that was certainly not the case back in the Regency.

Janga: I loved seeing the characters from the Chance Sisters books again. It all seemed so organic - - both the dressmaking and the literacy society. Can we look forward to seeing Rose and George visit the House of Chance in their stories?

Anne: I'm not sure. I never plan these things, but I hope so. If the opportunity arises, I'll take it, but it has to feel, as you say, organic, rather than contrived. 

PJ: Some of my favorite scenes included Lily recapturing her enjoyment of food with Edward's encouragement. What food(s) have you grinning with pleasure?

Anne: All kinds of food, PJ, though I'm more of a savory lover than a sweet-tooth - - pizza before pavlova, please. And pleasure in food also depends on the situation and the company. The wrong dinner companion can ruin an otherwise delicious meal. Conversely, a simple meal eaten with a loved one can be a feast. I'm glad you enjoyed those scenes, PJ. I like historical dishes to use in my books - - I have several recipe books from the 18th and 19th centuries - - and in this book I enjoyed having Lily discover some traditional Yorkshire specialties, as well.

Janga: One of my favorite characters in Marry in Scandal was Edward's grandfather. You often have older characters in your books who are genuine personalities and not just handy plot devices. Do you create such characters consciously, or are they gifts from your muse?

Anne: Gifts from the muse, definitely, Janga. And it's not just older characters - - though I do enjoy them. I like how older characters can be more outspoken and often a bit outrageous and "out there," and that's fun. But it's a blessing when a character just springs to life on the page. The moment Edward's grandfather and Lily met before the wedding they clicked, he was alive in my head, and I knew he was going to become important later. Which he was.

Janga: I know we have two more books to anticipate in this series. Will it end with the quartet, or do you have more books planned in this series?

Anne: At the moment it's just the quartet. I always find more characters to write about, but series length is a decision made by my publisher. That said, I've written a 4 book trilogy, and a 5 book quartet (that many people think should have been extended to 6 books - - (yes, Marcus). And though I managed to stick to four books for the seasonal bride quartet, a story for Ash, one of the partners in Flynn & Co. keeps nagging at me. But it would be a novella, and self-published if I wrote it. 

PJ: I'm so excited about the possibility of a story for Ash! And since you mentioned Marcus...

Janga: I have a question about an earlier series. Can you share any news about Marcus's story? I still long to see the last Renfrew brother get his HEA. (PJ: Me too!)

Anne: Oh, Janga (and PJ), so many people ask me about Marcus. Even though that series finished several years ago, I still get emails asking for his story, and I love that people remember him and want his HEA - - thank you!

I do want to write it - - I'd actually started on it, but it wasn't contracted and my then-editor had read my proposal for the new series (Autumn Bride, etc.) and wanted me to start on that instead of Marcus. When I do write his story, I'll self-publish it, but I'm no good at working on two stories at once, and Marcus's story (as it exists in my head) is a full length novel, not a novella, and I'm not a speedy writer, so while I have contracted books to write, that's what I have to do. But one day Marcus's book will come. 

PJ: Janga and I have been eagerly anticipating several books this quarter including, of course, Marry in Scandal (at the TOP of my list!). What books are you looking forward to reading?

Anne: Thank you! I never remember when books by favorite authors are due to come out so I preorder them the minute I hear, and then they just arrive in my e-reader as a nice surprise. So I'm waiting for Mary Balogh's Someone to Trust, Julie Anne Long's First Time at Firelight Falls - - I love this contemporary series of hers - - and Eloisa James's Too Wilde to Wed. I also have a backlog of books to catch up on. And I love to reread old favorites - - it's like catching up with old friends.


PJ: Thanks so much for visiting with us, Anne. Would you like to add anything else?

Anne: It's been a pleasure, as always, PJ and Janga. Thanks so much for all you do for romance readers and writers. 




I'd love to give away a book to someone who leaves a response to this: In the prologue (which you can read here) Lily has a beloved doll called Arabella. Did you have a favorite doll as a child, or was there some kind of toy you loved? (Mine was my teddy.)



 




82 comments:

  1. I had a bride doll that my godmother gave me when I was a child. She was about 30 inches tall and dressed in a beautiful white gown. Unfortunately, over the years of our moving to and from Europe, it got lost. I really wish I still had it.

    I enjoyed MARRY IN SCANDAL and found that Anne Gracie had created some really strong characters. If you read it, keep an eye on Georgiana. She's a funny gal and I would love to see a book written about her.

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    1. I had a beautiful china doll that was a gift from an aunt. I "decorated" it quite enthusiastically with my mom's red lipstick. Yeah, probably a little too nice of a gift for someone as young as I was at the time. Oops!

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    2. What a shame that doll got lost, Connie. Moving frequently will do that, though -- so many of my things were lost during my childhood as we moved from place to place. Glad you enjoyed Marry in Scandal. And yes, Georgiana is shaping up to be a fine heroine who leads her hero a merry dance. :)

      LOL on lipsticking the doll, PJ. I suspect quite a few of us did similar things.

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  2. Sad to say, I have no memory of a beloved doll or toy but I cherished every book I could get my hands on.

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    1. A book lover from the beginning! :)

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    2. Catslady, apart from Teddy (pretty much the only one of my dolls or toys that survived our many moves, many of the beloved books came with us. They're like old friends to me.

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  3. I had a bride doll and a Thumbelina doll that I loved.

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    1. I don't remember ever having a bride doll though they were certainly popular. I loved my Chatty Cathy doll. I had that doll talking all the time!

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    2. I never had a bride doll either, PJ, but Cheryl, a Thumbelina doll sounds pretty special.

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  4. I never had a doll or a toy that I cherished. The only thing that I have left from my childhood is my lovely Black Beauty book.

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    1. I still have two childhood hardback books that I treasure: my Shirley Temple's Storybook (a gift from my parents on my 9th Christmas) and 1001 Nights by Gertrude Chandler Warner (a gift from a dear family friend when I was 7 - her husband's niece designed and illustrated the book).

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    2. Diane, I also have my (one) Black Beauty book, plus Flicka, The Silver Brumby series and many other horse and dog books.

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  5. I didn't have a favorite doll, but I do remember having a Barbie doll & a Mary Poppins doll.

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    1. I adored my Barbie! She debuted in 1959. I (and many of my friends) got one for Christmas in 1960 (we were 9 years old). Those Barbies sure were well loved.

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    2. Barbie was the first doll I yearned for -- I must have been 10 or 11, but we'd moved and I was in a new school and Barbie was The Go.
      My parents didn't approve of Barbie, so they refused to let me have one. I wore them down, though and eventually I got one. The thing I liked best though was making the clothes.

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  6. Yep I had two dogs but they crossed the rainbow bridge already

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    1. My childhood dog was a favorite playmate too. She was well-loved for 16 years.

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    2. Natasha, when dogs do that they take a little piece of or heart with them.

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  7. I did not have a favorite doll, but loved a stuffed bunny rabbit.




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    1. I still have a floppy-eared stuffed puppy from my childhood. I don't remember playing with it (I was only two or three) but have been told I carried it everywhere. Stuffed animals are so comforting, don't you think?

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    2. Patty, I had (and still have) a stuffed rabbit called Snoodle, that was made by my dad's friend while he was in hospital recuperating for a long time. Sadly, Snoodle was rarely played with. Teddy and the real animals got all my attention.

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  8. Yes! My Hello Kitty plush toy, which I still keep. So many memories.

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    1. Most of my childhood plush went to younger cousins when I left for college but I have a few I've received as an adult that I keep. Lots of sweet memories. :)

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    2. Sounds gorgeous, Lubnaa. I went through a phase of making plush toys when I was about 12.

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  9. Isn't Anne Gracie a delightful guest as well as a wonderful author?

    Santa brought me a doll every Christmas until I entered my teens, and my aunts gave me many other dolls. I don't remember being particularly attached to any of them. I did have a teddy bear that I loved, but he arrived with a box of chocolates when I was seventeen, a Valentine's Day gift from a boyfriend. The bear outlasted the bf. LOL My favorite "toy" was my chalkboard I used from ages six through nine to teach my younger sister everything I learned in school. And I still have quite a few tattered books from my childhood, including Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, Little Men, Jo's Boys, and An Old Fashioned Girl. Books were always my first choice.

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    1. LOL! I had a few of those stuffed animals that outlasted the boyfriend too. I love that your cherished "toy" was a chalkboard!

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    2. Aw, thanks, Janga. Love the sound of your toy collection — so many memories there, and wow, you were teaching from a young age! I caught dolls house disease when I was well grown up, trying to write full time and minding a friend of mine's young daughter on day a week. One of my adult literacy students adored dolls and gave me an old dolls house she had to entertain the little girl. We made things for it and played for hours every week. (I named a minor character in her honor -- little May, an orphan in The Perfect Waltz)

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  10. My favorite doll was a blond cabbage patch kid when I was little - as I grew up I loved to play softball, so I would have to by glove. LOL.
    Karen T. (Natalie's Mama).

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    1. When my niece and nephew were young we took them to Babyland General Hospital in Cleveland, GA where Cabbage Patch kids are "born." What a fun experience!

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    2. Karen, I was a softball player too. How many hours did we spend softening that new glove? :)

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  11. Mine was a favorite teddy bear. It survived a house fire but was considered unable to be cleaned of the smoke and suit. However, the cleaning company heard how disappointed I was since it was the last item I received before my father died. They had another go at it and managed to get it cleaned so it could be cleared for cuddling. And they repaired a rip before it's return to me!

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    1. I'm so glad they were able to clean and return your bear to you.

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    2. Lil, I LOVE that story. I'm so glad they were able to clean poor Teddy up and give him back to you. I still have my Teddy and he's a bit bald, and his paws are patched and he only has one eye, and I still love him. So much childhood love and angst and secrets poured into one little bear.

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  12. I had a monkey and I loved him. I was too much a tomboy to play with a doll. And while it is true, boys, for some reason, are admittedly found to be dyslexic,it does cover all genders and socio-econmical genres, women where thought to be unreachable more often and less was tried on them. Boys were often taught how to remember things or memorize things, more than girls were.

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    1. My brother had a stuffed monkey he carried everywhere. Loved that thing!

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    2. Amy, I was a tomboy too, and that's probably why I had animals instead of dolls— real ones as well as Teddy and Snoodle-the-rabbit (who I neglected) I've taught adults how to read most of my life (both as a voluntary activity and later as a paid job) and you're right -- though reading disabilities are more common in boys, girls are by no means immune.

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  13. I remember my Mrs. Beasley doll with her blonde hair and square-framed glasses. But I don’t remember watching the TV show she was based on (Family Affair). I assume my mom probably did though! 😉

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    1. I remember Mrs. Beasley well. I watched Family Affair every week.

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    2. I never saw it, but I'm intrigued that you played with a doll named after a TV character. Did you call her Mrs Beasley or did you name her yourself? (I must admit I love the sound of calling a doll Mrs something)

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  14. I still have the first doll given to me when I was a baby. So it is about 65 years old. My mother repaired it for me as one of her arms fell off because I dragged the doll around everywhere. My mother taught all 4 of her children to love reading.

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    1. My stuffed puppy is about the same age. I love how many of us had mothers who passed down a love of reading to their children. Mine also came from my book-loving father.

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    2. I love those much-repaired, much-beloved toys. My parents also gave me a love of reading, and they and my older siblings read aloud when I was a toddler. I couldn't wait to do that myself.

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  15. My favorite was The Talking Chrissy doll. You could actually pull the hair to make it grow. It had reddish brown hair, which was so different from my blonde hair. I loved that doll.

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    1. I'm not familiar with that one. Probably a good thing. My brothers would have had way too much fun with a doll meant to have its hair pulled. ;-)

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    2. Oh wow, that sounds like fun, Pamela. I also wanted to have auburn hair. Funny how we so often want what we don't have.
      I also had a brother, PJ, but luckily he was too much older to think of doing devilish things to my toys. ;)

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  16. I had some baby dolls and a princess doll and then my Barbie dolls - I liked to play with them - had a tea set & a doll carriage, but could never sleep with them - they always ended up on the floor (sorry dollies!)

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    1. I had a doll carriage but we used it to cart my next-door neighbor's cats around the neighborhood...after we dressed them in our doll clothes. Those poor cats. lol

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    2. Di, dolls were usually hard, so I'm not surprised you didn't sleep with yours. And even though I don't even remember whether I had any dolls — I suppose I must have but there's no memory of them -- I loved to make little rooms and houses in shoe boxes.

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  17. I had a doll but never got attached to it. I preferred reading and books were my treasures.

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    1. I have much clearer memories of books too.

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    2. Traveler, I'm with you —as are most of the readers of this blog, I suspect. Books were and still are my treasures.

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  18. I enjoyed playing with a tea set but I cannot remember any doll which was special for me. Instead I enjoyed books from very young and cherished my collection.

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    1. I don't think I ever had a tea set. At least, I don't remember one.

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    2. Oh yes, the dolls' tea-party — I remember having those with friends. Was Teddy allowed? I don't remember. But I do recall the delight of those tiny cups and tea pot and the miniature food. Such fun.

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  19. Like so many others, books were more treasured than any of my toys. I don't remember having more than one doll. My mother was opposed to us having gender specific toys and had a major hissy fit every time my sister or I asked for a Barbie doll.

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    1. Glenda, I so identify with that. My mother never said it in so many words, but I realized when I was older that she thought it wrong to sexualize little girls with a doll with giant, stick-out boobs, a tiny waist and hips etc

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  20. Janette GryniewiczApril 9, 2018 at 10:37 PM

    I didn't like dolls, so I had a green ball that I pushed around in a baby carriage, fed in a high chair, and (of course) played with as a regular ball.

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    1. Janette I LOVE the thought of you and your green ball. Clearly you were a wonderfully imaginative child.

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  21. I was blessed that both my mother and grandmother were talented seamstresses. They made doll cloths, stuffed animals and rag dolls. My sister still has a few treasured toys. I held on to my teddy bear all the way to adulthood.

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    1. Cecilia, my godmother fulfilled that role in my childhood and taught me to make plush toys and dolls clothes. And I still have my teddy, too.

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  22. I think I had a blanket that went everywhere with me. When I was older it was a stuffed pink elephant or a book.

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    1. Lovely, Eileen. I can imagine the comfort a "blankie" gave.

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  23. Cannot remember a favorite toy as a little kid, but when I was older, loved my Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Beverly Cleary, Maud Hart Lovelace and Eleanor Estes books; could not get enuf of them.

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    1. Patoct, I think those early books made us the voracious readers we are today.

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    2. Yes they did, tried to get my daughter to read as a kid, but she had her own taste and same with my granddaughter. LOL.

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  24. I had a baby doll as a child that I loved. I see ones just like her in antique stores today. (That is depressing.) My grandmother had repainted the features on the head and made a small wardrobe for her. It was my prized possession. Inexplicably it went missing when we moved just a few miles away when I was in seventh grade. The only two things that disappeared were my doll and a doll house. I never did find her or what happened to her. I still have the clothes my grandmother made for her.

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    1. Patricia, that's sad that your wonderful and her clothes and house went missing. Might your parents have privately decided you were too old for dolls? I had a toy with a secret compartment that was given to me when we lived in Scotland. I loved the secret compartment and hid some of my special treasures in it, but Mum decided it wasn't important and left it behind.

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    2. How sad for you. Treasures from our childhood are important to us. We may be too old to play with them, but they hold many wonderful memories.

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  25. My mom had a small collection of dolls from when she was a little girl and I loved playing with them! Funny, I hadn't thought about them in years. Thank you for helping me remember such a cherished memory.

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    1. Thanks, MsAwesome, I'm really enjoying these comments. They've sparked a lot of memories for me, too.

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  26. My favourite toys were not dolls, but a stuffed teddy bear and cat, and, later, toy trucks and tractors. I loved books from very early in my childhood. As my mother was a children's librarian before her marriage, she picked excellent books for my brothers and me, starting with books like The Little White Teddy Bear or The Velveteen Rabbit and progressing to the Narnia series.

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    1. Anne, I think books create a wonderful legacy for a child, in memories, habits created, and a life-long love of reading. When an author friend of mine first became a grandmother, a group of us sent her a collection of favorite books — not for the granddaughter, but for Grandma, to keep at her place for little visitors.

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  27. Barbie was my favorite doll as a little girl.

    denise

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    1. Thanks Denise, she was very popular, wasn't she? I wonder, was it the first time a doll came already named?

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  28. I had a doll called Pitiful Pearl who I loved dearly. Also had a smaller Shirley Temple doll who had lots of outfits ...my mom's friend Rose sewed her a lot of clothes.

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    1. Oh, I love the sound of Pitiful Pearl — what an interesting name. And how nice of Rose to sew your Shirley Temple doll those clothes.

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  29. My favorite was a newborn-size doll with a solid head and a stuffed body with floppy limbs that I had from before I even can remember. My other "babies" were my two dogs that got pushed around in a full-size baby carriage! A fox terrier and a border collie (!) shared the space and let me do it! It may have been the peanut butter sandwiches for the planned picnics that helped. :-)

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    1. LOL Eliza. I too played with real animals more than dolls. Dogs were wriggly but good in a pram and would endure being dressed up, but cats! That was a lesson learned young. ;)

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    2. Oh, Anne, I dressed up my dogs too. My mom told me that one day when it got a little too quiet she went into the kitchen to find our two dogs and cat each on their own kitchen chair (in a row no less) dressed up in hats and shawls, sitting there, patiently waiting for me to come back!

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  30. Wow, mine were never that obedient -- and the cats never would allow themselves to be dressed. LOL

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