When I was growing up, there was a series of books that I discovered at the public library. I loved them. I read them over and over again, and loved them a little bit more each time. Those books were the Betsy-Tacy books, by Maud Hart Lovelace. I wanted to live in the world of Deep Valley, Minnesota at the turn of the century. I wanted to be Betsy Ray. She had the lovely Tacy and Tib for best friends and they had the most wonderful adventures, she was a writer, she wore beautiful dresses and fancy big hats, and her dad made the most delicious "Sunday night lunch." Betsy didn't have a perfect life though. She had her fair share of heartbreak and embarrassment and insecurity. But in the end, her optimism and confidence and joyous spirit always shone through. And finally, in the tenth book, she married Joe! Just like Anne and Gilbert, those two were meant to be together.
The Betsy books have been reissued in new, beautiful editions and I am definitely adding them to my Christmas wish list (though they surely cannot compare to my hardcover, original, signed copy of Betsy's Wedding that Mom found for me on ebay a few years back!) Yes, I've already got all the books, but wouldn't it be fun to have crisp new copies?
In the introduction to Betsy Was a Junior (my current re-read as I work my way up through the series once more), Meg Cabot writes, "Slipping into a Betsy book is like slipping into a pair of well-worn slippers." So true. You feel warm and cozy and like you could curl up on the couch for hours with some of your oldest, dearest friends. And really, on a dreary winter night, what could be better than that?