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Review: "Dear Enemy" by Jean Webster

Dear Enemy may be downloaded for free from our ebook catalog.

First published in 1915, Dear Enemy is a sequel to Daddy Long Legs. Judy Abbott, whose letters to her anonymous benefactor made up the first novel, hardly makes an appearance in this one. The main character is Judy's pal from college, Sallie McBride, who Judy recruits from her frivolous life to run the John Grier orphan asylum. Sallie accepts the challenge, mainly to anger her politician suitor who doesn't think she's up to the task. And so the adventure begins. This time the letters are from Sallie mostly to Judy, but letters to others including to the home's moody Scottish doctor--her "enemy"--add some variation.

What makes the novel work is Sallie's open temperament as well as tendency to put her foot in her mouth. I was again reminded of that other book about orphans and red-heads with a tendency for pitfalls, Anne of Green Gables. Some hilarious episodes occur, as do some tearful ones. The love story is one of the better and more believable ones I've come across, with the two characters well-matched, likable, and deserving of their eventual happiness.

I liked this one even better than its prequel. Yes, there are some problematic mentions of eugenics and "idiocy", so be forewarned! But at heart it is a lovely, endearing story.


  1. Hannah says:

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