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Understood Betsy

By Dorothy Canfield Fisher

“Not a thing had happened the way she had planned, no, not a single thing! But it seemed to her she had never been so happy in her life.”                    

– Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Understood Betsy

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Book Summary


Children’s Literature, Fiction, Novel


Family, Coming of Age, Identity, Courage, Belonging


6 -12 years


Elizabeth Ann is a nine-year-old orphan living in the city with her Aunt Frances and Aunt Harriet. She has lived a sheltered life with her aunts, whose loving devotion unknowingly hinders her growth and life experience.  

This suddenly changes when aunt Harriet develops a severe cough, and Elizabeth Ann is sent to live in Vermont on a farm with her mother’s family, the Putneys. Life with the Putneys surprises Elizabeth Ann. She soon learns that her new environment is full of opportunities to learn, adventure, and even think for herself – something she never did in the city!

When the time comes for aunt Frances to collect Elizabeth Ann and take her back to the city, she discovers that the timid and frail Elizabeth Ann, now known as Betsy, is thriving in her new environment and quite content. After some honest moments between aunt Frances and Betsy, it’s decided that Betsy will stay at the Putney farm and finally be a part of the family for good.

This lovely coming-of-age story is about a sheltered, shy little girl who blossoms into a brave, loyal, and happy little lady.

Content Warning:


This book review by:

Jessie is a homeschooling mother to three beautiful children. She has dedicated her life to teaching and training her children in the ways of the Lord. She loves books and researching homeschooling curriculum!

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