~~~Martitia is an orphaned, sixteen-year-old, solemn city girl who is brought to live with the family of the kindly Quaker doctor who treated her dying parents. The family consists of a very elderly grandfather, a reserved but efficient mother, five boisterous, laughing boys, and a crusty young daughter. The boys scare Martitia with their antics and constant teasing. Ruth, the daughter, feels Martitia is helpless and useless and speaks her opinion. She really is a baby when she goes to live with the Gardners, but soon finds the fortitude to change herself and learn to become an resource to the family. There is some conflict between Dr. Gardner and Martitia's uncle over guardianship; and there is some romance and tragedy.
~~~There were many interesting aspects to this book that I probably didn't appreciate years ago. It was a great look into the ways of the Quakers, early 19th century North Carolina, silk harvesting and even the culture of education. Still, while I loved the book as a young girl, now I found it to be a little too sweet and Martitia was a bit insipid. But then she showed great determination and courage in overcoming her helplessness and fear, even to the point of playing tricks on the brothers to get even. It was good to see her finally show some spirit. I found it interesting to read that this book was about the author's great-grandfather and his wife. He became the governor of North Carolina after the Civil War and his future in politics was alluded to in the story. It was a fun, easy book to read and I would certainly recommend it, especially to young girls.