September 8, 2016

Rainbow After Rain by Janet Lambert (1953)

A longtime collector of Janet Lambert's books, I recently gave up the twenty-year search for the missing volumes in my collection, and ordered them via Image Cascade. It's so exciting to finally be filling in the pieces of the long and involved Parrish/Jordon family series.

Rainbow After Rain (1953 - #25) directly follows Don't Cry, Little Girl, in which Tippy Parrish's beau Ken Prescott is killed in action in Korea. Tippy spends the second half of the book trying to deal with her grief, her family's sympathy, and the still-devoted Peter Jordon, who has been in love with Tippy for years.


September 7, 2016

Don't Cry, Little Girl by Janet Lambert (1952)

While Tippy Parrish eagerly awaited the arrival of Ken Prescott, she dreamed of love and marriage. And when she found his sentiments to be the same as hers, her happiness bubbled over. Then, quite suddenly, Ken's leave was cancelled. With a heavy heart, Tippy put away the lovely tablecloth she had purchased for their game of make-believe at being married.

As Tippy bravely say Ken off to Korea on the morning plan, she gave some serious thought to the months that lay ahead. She would learn how to knit, to sew, and to cook, against the day when they would be reunited once again. She would write him regularly, and look forward to receiving his precious letters.

Busy with school--with comforting Peter Jordon and the weekly hops at West Point--time did pass. But one day, the world almost came to an end for Tippy, and all her hopes were shattered . . . This is one of Mrs. Lambert's most unusually charming and appealing stories. (from the inside flap)

Let me refer you to the last line of the inside flap blurb: "one of Mrs. Lambert's most unusually charming and appealing stories." Spoiler: the blurb writer has a very strange idea of what connotes charming. Of course, the books are all charming and appealing, but this novel has some incredibly serious emotional heft to it.


September 1, 2016

Miss America by Janet Lambert (1951)

A year in another country can be a very, very long time, and Tippy Parrish is not at all sure she is going to like the changes time has wrought on this side of the Atlantic. For one thing, pretty clothes cost much more than they did a year ago. And people have changed too: Bobby, unpredictable brother Bobby, wants to leave West Point to go into advertising; and Alice Jordon, Tippy's beloved "Alcie," seems just a shade distant, with a secret she doesn't care to share.

But most painful of all to Tippy is that her dear Peter Jordon keeps getting lost behind a smoke screen of memories raised by handsome Lieutenant Ken Prescott whom she left behind in Germany.

Tippy is frankly bewildered. Then out of a clear sky, war in Korea looms, and the entire Parrish clan is forced into making some pretty important decisions. How does Tippy handle the situation? In her very special "Tippy" way--and what could be more fascinating! (from the inside flap)

We open with the return of the Parrishes to New York, with the whole family greeting them with great excitement and love. Penny reflects on Tippy:

The Reluctant Heart by Janet Lambert (1950)

Penny Parrish, glamourous, successful young Broadway star, didn't want the part! Even though Josh, her husband-manager, had undertaken to produce the play with her in the leading role, still Penny preferred the country and the two babies. Let Neda, beautiful little schemer that she was, play the part; she, Penny, was happily safe in her love, her home, her children--and there she would stay.

That she was being selfish never entered her pretty head. That Josh missed the gay, enthusiastic, ambitious young actress he had married five years earlier just never occurred to Penny until it was almost too late.

What roughly awakened her to danger, what swept the play to success makes such fascinating reading that Janet Lambert's older group of readers will find THE RELUCTANT HEART especially interesting. (from the inside flap)

The Reluctant Heart opens with Penny gardening at her home in the country. Now 26 and the mother of two, she is enjoying life at home while Josh toils away in the big city in the theater. Trudy, though, is not approving of "be-kind-to-Penny day." While Mrs. and Colonel Parrish are away in Germany, it falls to Trudy to tell Penny all about herself.

August 29, 2016

Confusion by Cupid by Janet Lambert (1950)

Gwenn Jordon missed no opportunity to remind her step-brother, Peter, that his favorite girl, Tippy Parrish, had found a great admirer in young Lieutenant Prescott in Germany, and as the present story opens Peter is thoroughly mad. Especially at women. If it had not been for Alice, his other step-sister, he didn't know just what he would do. Of course, there was a pretty little lass from out of town, but just how much did she count?

Meanwhile Gwenn and Alice went to a house party at Bill Hanley's where Alice was to have been the guest of honor. Gwenn, however, having just fallen out with her own fiancé, decided to get even with him by making herself the belle of the house party.

After that what happened? Was Alice, sweet, reliable Alice, able to extricate her thoughtless sister from a wretched situation that jeopardized the happiness of two families? And presently just how did Bobby Parrish feel when he found Alice admitting that Jon Drayton (remember Christy Drayton's brother?) was an awfully nice chap? And what finally became of the lad to whom Gwenn had been engaged? Truly--all was confusion--with Cupid hanging his head in discouragement.

All ends well though, as it always does in Janet Lambert's inimitable stories for girls, with all the characters settling finally into their perfect if unpredictable positions in the intricate pattern woven for them. (from the inside flap)

Confusion by Cupid opens with Peter Jordon in a drugstore, stewing about an argument he had with his sister Gwenn, where she tries to get him to go out with her friend, despite his continuing devotion to Tippy Parrish. He meets Maxsie in the drugstore and:

August 26, 2016

Re-Reading Janet Lambert (Part Two - The Tippy and Alcie Years)

The world is still slightly too much with me, so I am spending my August re-reading and writing about the books of Janet Lambert. So far, I've made my way through the first ten or so in the locket series, which comprises the army-life adventures of the Parrish and Jordon families (as well as a little Candy Kane thrown in).

The first part of this reading project took me through the adventures of Penny Parrish as she grows up, finds her career, marries producer/playwright Josh MacDonald and starts a family. We also meet Carrol, Penny's rich and beautiful friend who marries Penny's brother David and starts a family of her own. We also get introduced to the Jordons, and Jenifer, the eldest, who takes care of the whole large and complicated  family.

Little Miss Atlas by Janet Lambert (1949)

By all the rules Tippy Parrish should have been having a perfectly marvelous time. Here she was, in a beautiful little village in the Bavarian Alps where her father, Colonel Parrish was stationed; she had a handsome young American lieutenant paying her flattering attention; she danced and skied and skated the days away. But Tippy was not happy. And why?

Miss Tippy by Janet Lambert (1948)

The Parrishes again, and this time Tippy, "going on" sixteen just as Penny was in Star-Spangled Summer, the book which opened that series. As always in the Parrish clan, many things happen at once: Tippy sends out invitations for a birthday dance on Governors Island; Colonel Parrish is ordered to Germany; and suddenly tragedy stalks into the gay Parrish household.

For a long time Tippy has been smarting under the failure of Trudy, the beloved colored cook, to call her "Miss Tippy." Trudy is all-wise, all-knowing. When Tippy ceases to be a headstrong, teasing, little flitterfly, says Trudy, and takes on a bit of sorely lacking dignity, she will be called "Miss Tippy," but not until then.

August 21, 2016

Re-reading Janet Lambert (Part One)

The first ten Janet Lamberts, or so.
(from the author's collection, hee)
The world is slightly too much with me, so I am spending my August re-reading and writing about the books of Janet Lambert. In addition to the detailed posts on each novel, I'm updating this post as I make my way through the series.

Although Janet Lambert has written a ton of books (Stories about teenagers...written specially for teenagers), her books about the Parrish, Jordon and the Kane families are the books I've loved since I was a child. Set (and written) during World War II and after, they encompass the world of the U.S. Army as well as the world of American Theater. What could be better?

Up Goes the Curtain by Janet Lambert (1946)

No young girl who ever has longed to know the mystery of the world behind the footlights will be able to put down this new story about Penny Parrish and her first exciting experiences on Broadway.

After working hard all summer in a stock company, Penny finds herself in the cast of the show, The Robin's Nest, due to open on Broadway. There she meets Josh Macdonald, the blunt, weary-looking stage manager, who takes a keen interest in her success as an actress--although he is surprisingly indifferent to her as an attractive young girl!

August 20, 2016

One for the Money by Janet Lambert (1946)

Candy Kane again, and this time in California. Barton, who in WHOA, MATILDA! shared ownership with Candy in their battered jeep, is now on his way home from the war in the Pacific. When he arrives he finds Candy completely absorbed in the career of a race horse named Mister Smith, owned by an engaging old man who can not afford to have him trained and "handled." Barton does not share Candy's zeal in the project at first, but in spite of himself he becomes interested.

The result is that, in spite of a serious quarrel which almost spoils everything, Mister Smith wins an important race at Santa Anita to the boundless joy of the old man and Candy and Barton. The quarrel is made up and the ending is on a high and happy note.

August 18, 2016

Friday's Child by Janet Lambert (1947)

Alice Jordon was a typical "Friday's child" for she was "loving and giving," especially where her sister Gwenn, vain, selfish and clever, was concerned. Another "Friday's child" in the huge Jordon family was the eldest sister, Jenifer. Jenifer held the family together and Alice, happy, completely unself-conscious, was her able lieutenant.

August 15, 2016

Practically Perfect by Janet Lambert (1947)

Now Penny Parrish must make a choice. Who will it be? Is she going to marry Michael Drayton? Or will it be handsome Terry Hayes? Or how about Josh MacDonald, her manager? In this book we find Penny, again in the theater, making more and more friends, deciding against Hollywood, and dividing her time busily between the family home on Governors Island, where her father is in command, and her sister-in-law Carrol's apartment in New York.

August 13, 2016

Just Jenifer by Janet Lambert (1945)

With Just Jenifer, Janet Lambert introduces the Jordon family to her readers. As the book opens, sixteen-year-old Jenifer Jordon is taking care of her many brothers and sisters in Orlando. Her father General Jordon is off in Italy fighting in the war. Things get increasingly complicated when their housekeeper has to leave for a family emergency, and Jenifer is left to care for the family alone.

August 9, 2016

Whoa, Matilda! by Janet Lambert (1944)

Everyone who has read CANDY KANE has kept her fingers crossed that the irrepressible Candy would somehow continue her helpful, hopeful, unpredictable ministrations to her difficult family at Fort Benning. And here she is! This time the Kanes are living in a hotel in crowded Washington, awaiting Colonel Kane's orders to leave on what turns out to be a highly secret overseas mission. Barton Reed is now a full-fledged private first class, and owns a hysterical old coupe named Matilda. Matilda lacks figure, dignity and self-control, and eventually becomes Candy's most prized possession--because Bart can see no possible way of keeping the delightful old jalopy now that he is in the Army.

Candy Kane by Janet Lambert (1943)

Candy wasn't as pretty as her sister Leigh, but she had a wistful little combination of something else in her make-up that made people love her and trust her and want her to be around. At Fort Benning, for instance, where Major Kane was stationed, Candy was absolutely essential to the success of every party or outing. Leigh and Mother, however, were of another stripe, and made the going rather difficult for everyone . . . especially for a certain young soldier. Later on, in fact when it was much too late, they discovered their mistake and from a distance Candy could smile her quiet, small, happy smile.

August 7, 2016

Glory Be by Janet Lambert (1943)

In Glory Be! Penny and her friend Carrol encounter more serious grown-up problems, but they never lose any of their charm, wit, and sense of excitement with life. The story opens with Penny's eighteenth birthday party, which is followed by a shopping trip into New York with Carrol. The carefree time of the girls is interrupted, however, by the tragedy of Pearl Harbor. From that fateful day, events move fast for the Parrish and Houghton families. The lives of the girls are suddenly transformed and they need all the character and courage they have built up to face the uncertainties and heartbreaks that war brings. With unique understanding of a young girl's heart, Janet Lambert shows how the girls meet tragedy and come through with a deeper maturity.

Dreams of Glory by Janet Lambert

Here again is another story of the adventures of the irrepressible Penny Parrish and her delightful family. By one of those happy accidents best known to fiction, Major Parrish has been transferred from Fort Arden, Kansas, to West Point, where all concerned can keep an eye on David, the family's cadet. And happily, Penny's friend Carrol Houghton lives in an enormous barn of a place not far up the Hudson from the Point. So it is not surprising that the two girls are together constantly.

July 6, 2016

The Amethyst Summer by Bianca Bradbury (1963)

How do you manage a big house, keep three brothers and your father properly nourished when they all seem to have hollow legs, and have a life of your own if you're sixteen years old and inexperienced to say the least? How do you make it clear to your brothers and their friends that you no longer intend to be the pal who is always ready to catch a ball, hold a wrench, and generally make yourself agreeable and useful as a chum? That, in fact, you intend to try for a more glamourous role in their lives? And how do you do the friendly and neighborly thing for an interesting but diffident refugee family that moves in next door?

All of these problems confronted Bayley because her mother had to leave her family one summer to take care of an ailing relative. Bayley rather lightly undertook to fill her place but almost immediately realized she was over her head. After a pretty grim start, however, she began to learn how to manage a house, serve an acceptable meal, and get her social life oriented toward dating rather than just being a good scout.

An excellent story for older girls, told with understanding and humor, about one of the most important facets of growing up. (from the inside flap)

Love Taps Gently by Janet Lambert (1955)

Charming, lovable Susan Jordon, whose longing for a home was happily satisfied in A Dream for Susan, is now sixteen and even better able to cope with the disturbing family crises which develop so unexpectedly. The manner in which Susan and the Jordon family as a whole, meet these crises, forms the plot of this appealing story.

The Jordons' life at Gladstone Gates has settled into a happy routine. Neal, Susan's twin, and young Vance are working for the summer on the Parrishs' estate. Although General Jordon, now a business executive rather than an Army officer, is disturbed by his erratic step-daughter Gwenn's threat to sue him for mismanagement of her inheritance, he is trying to keep the three younger children from knowing of the unpleasant development. With everyone apparently happy, Susan is enjoying a mild flirtation with her other half-sister Alice's young brother-in-law, Keith Drayton. Keith proves a source of constant irritation to Bobby Parrish, whose career as an Army Lieutenant has done little to dampen his light-hearted exuberance. As far as he is concerned, Susan is his property, and his attitude is causing Susan some uneasiness. All of the Jordons miss the youngest daughter, Bitsy, who for five years has been living in England with her oldest sister, Jennifer and her husband, Cyril, Lord Carlington.

When suddenly Bitsy returns to America, a cold, self-centered thirteen-year-old; and when Gwenn explodes on the family unexpectedly and collapses into a serious illness, the Jordons find that both problems can be solved with gentle understanding and love. Bobby Parrish surprises everyone by his own surprising contribution and even Bitsy comes to realize that love is a gentle giving, rather than an insistent demand.

Readers who are meeting the Jordons for the first time will be enchanted with this delightful family. Those to whom the Jordons are old friends, will be gratified that Susan's summer ends happily, after all! (from the inside flap)

Junior Miss by Sally Benson (1939)

Reflection in a Million Mirrors

She's tall for her twelve years, and heavily built. From her shoulders to her knees she is entirely shapeless, and below her skirt, which is too short for her, her legs are hard and covered with scratches. She wears a sloppy sweater, two charm bracelets of a brassy color, and a locket and chain that fastens so tightly around her neck it seems it might throttle her. In the locket is a rather dim snapshot of a kitten and a clear picture of Tyrone Power, clipped from a movie magazine. She's outgrown her devotion to Tyrone Power, but she still gets a lump in her throat when she remembers the kitten, whose name was Bilgy. She has also outgrown toys at Christmas, but there's something empty about Christmas Day in spite of the jade green lounging pajamas and the silk stockings. She's the girl you loved in the stage and screen plays based on this book, and she personifies all the naive realities and sophisticated fantasies of the in-between years. (from the back cover)

Editorial Comment: Could this be a LESS enticing description? Also, I love the note on the back of the Pocket edition: Share this book with someone in uniform. I'm sure they'll love it!