Lacy Makes a Match by Patricia Beatty
William Morrow, 1st edition, 1979
Genre: children’s literature, historical fiction
Synopsis & Review: Lacy Bingham has been feeling the loss of her adoptive mother; at twelve, she is the sole woman in the house, and stepping into Ma Bingham’s shoes is a mighty tall order for a girl in school. Frustrated at all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, mending, and more there is to do four her father and three grown brothers, Lacy casts about for some solution. Inspiration comes in the form of her eldest brother Hector’s sudden elopement: if her two other brothers, Michael and Eldon were to marry, then she would have only one other person to look after! And with that, Lacy hatches a scheme to write to a lonely hearts paper for suitable women. As she hunts for wives for her brothers, Lacy also investigates her own past, curious about how she came to be left on the Bingham’s property as a baby.
This is another of Patricia Beatty’s charming novels about spunky young girls on America’s frontiers. Lacy inhabits Coyote Mountain, a California mining town vividly brought to life, as is 1890s San Francisco when Lacy takes a trip there. Though many of the supporting characters are a bit simplistic, Lacy’s strong, clear voice, a quick pace, and good humor make up for it, as do Lacy’s amusing—if fanciful—scrapes.
Cover: Illustration of Lacy with one of her lonely hearts letters, with brother Eldon and Belle Cantrell behind. It’s another wraparound, with the back featuring the Bingham Livery and a horse-drawn buggy.
I didn’t help Hector pack his duds or see him off at the train depot either. And I didn’t go down to the livery stable to tell Pa and Michael and Elbert what Hector was up to. One of them might try to stop him before he got on the train, thinking he was being hasty. I figured I’d tell them all at the supper table that there was an Ophelia Katherine Whipple as well as an Orville Kenneth. That ought to take their minds off the food–fried ham, fried potatoes, fried eggs, and fried leftover apple pie from the night before. Maud and I had decided frying it might soften up the crust.
27 July – 28 July