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The Young Visiters

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  375 ratings  ·  90 reviews
A short “society novel” written by Miss Daisy Ashford at the age of nine. The notebook containing the novel was rediscovered by her in adult life and sent by a friend to Frank Swinnerton, the English novelist, critic, editor and essayist. Published in 1919 by Chatto and Windus, with its original misspellings and an arch introduction by “Peter Pan” author J. M. Barrie, it w ...more
Hardcover, 105 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Chicago Review Press (first published 1919)
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The Young Visiters by Daisy AshfordThe Magic of Oz by L. Frank BaumMy Man Jeeves by P.G. WodehouseThe Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset MaughamStrange News from Another Star by Hermann Hesse
Best Books of 1919
1st out of 23 books — 11 voters
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankThe Outsiders by S.E. HintonEragon by Christopher PaoliniFrankenstein by Mary ShelleyThe Young Visiters by Daisy Ashford
Books Written By Children
5th out of 27 books — 17 voters


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Community Reviews

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Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
3.5 stars

This book was written by a 9-year-old so of course it's not the most brilliantly-written thing in the world––but Daisy Ashford's prose and attention to detail is certainly impressive considering her age. It's kind of unclear whether the story was meant to be satirical or whether Ashford intended readers to take it seriously, but either way it's cute and funny and I found it very entertaining.

I'll probably edit this review later and add in some quotes that I found particularly funny. :)
Catherine Robertson
"I shall put some red ruge on my face said Ethel because I am very pale owing to the drains in this house."
Rebecca
Dec 22, 2008 Rebecca rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
This is a completely charming and funny story written by an English girl named Daisy Ashford in 1890, when she was only nine years old. The story goes that every morning after breakfast and before her bath, Daisy would sit down and write one chapter of her story, finishing the whole thing in 12 days. The story, which Daisy wrote in an exercise book, fell into the hands of a publisher and was published in 1919 with all her spelling mistakes intact (which explains the misspelled title of the book) ...more
Perry Whitford
'The Young Visitors' is an impossibly charming story written by a nine year old about Mr. Salteena, who love Ethel and wants to learn how to become a gentleman. A friend they go to visit, Mr. Bernard Clark, can help Mr. Salteena to get in with an earl, but he also takes a shine to the pretty Ethel.

What a delight the whole thing is! At nigh on a hundred pages the young author has virtually composed an equivalent of 'Anna Karenina' (though the chapters do get noticeably shorter near the end!), ful
...more
Adam
This Victorian curiosity is a novella written by a girl who was just nine years old, and it has two storylines: a love triangle story and a rise-in-fortunes story in which the titular Mr. Salteena pursues his worthy goal of becoming an authentic English gentleman. There’s a good chuckle on nearly every page here--all provided by young Ms. Ashford’s distinctive phrasing, creative spelling and grammar, and Cormac McCarthy-like, almost non-existent punctuation. But maybe the primary value of this h ...more
Jenne
I laughed so hard I snorted. There may also have been cackling.
Ellinor
I've read all of Jane Austen's juvenilia and enjoyed them very much. The Young Visitors also is a peace of juvenilia. Daisy Ashford wrote it when she was nine and re-discovered it several years later. It was then published almost exactly as it had been written.
It should better have stayed hidden in the drawer. It is fairly obvious why Ms Austen became a famous writer and we didn't hear anything from Ms Ashford again.
Judy
I've just re-read this. The Posy Simmonds illustrated edition with a different version of the text and explanatory notes. I just love it. I love it more than I did the first time I read it. Maybe because I now have children aged 10 and 11 and have a better idea of how astonishing a feat it was for a nine year old to write it. It's not just Daisy's ability to craft a story and describe a party scene, dialogue, a love scene, and so on; it's her acute observations of the culture and class structure ...more
Lizmo
Hilarious! Written by a 9-year-old who is clearly influenced by the Victorian era and literature she had been reading. I read it for my Classic Juvenile Fantasy Literature class which mostly looks at literature written "for children," by adults, but this book seems to do the opposite. Or at least, it is the only book we cover that is written by a child. It can be read in less than an hour and is kind of cute, since it keeps her punctuation and spelling. At times I was amazed by words she chose t ...more
Rhys
Hilarious, unintentionally so, for the most part, but one suspects that some of the humour was utterly intended; and that the young authoress (only nine years when she penned this story) might have gone on to become a successful and perhaps even renowned novelist had she persisted with her hobby of writing fiction.

The opening line is a classic. "Mr. Salteena was an elderly man of 42..."

Everything about this book is funny, charming, strange, incredible, but also accomplished to an extraordinary d
...more
Melee
Jun 10, 2011 Melee rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Melee by: Kimberly Karalius
Shelves: read-online, wishlist
Thanks to my friend Kim and Project Gutenberg I was able to read The Young Visiters this afternoon. I chuckled my way through it, impressed at the young Daisy's humour and wide range of vocabulary. I thought her spelling errors were rarther darling.
I wish I had been that awesome as a nine year old.
Fantaghiro23
I was going to say I just "liked it," since it rushed through a lot of things. To be expected, I suppose, from a very young writer. But it did make me laugh heartily in several portions. Such as during the proposal chapter--a lot of passionate exclamations of love, a fainting, and resulting pouring of river water on the lady's forehead, and packing of viands. And towards the end, with this: "The Earl soon got tired of his sickly daughters and his wife had a savage temper so he thourght [sic] he ...more
Michi
This was on a list of 1001 Children's Books to read before you grow up and I honestly don’t fully understand why. Alright, it’s a cute little story written by a 9-year-old, who was, I suppose, fairly talented for her age. But the story itself is not particularly interesting, doesn’t really make a lot of sense (it was written by a 9-year-old, so it’s somewhat understandable) and just because some publisher had a fondness for juvenilia at the beginning of the 20th century, that doesn’t mean it has ...more
Jude
I was first given this book to read by my grandmother as a child, under the knowledge that it was written by a little girl. Unfortunately the knowledge of the book fell somewhere into the back of my mind, and when my grandparent passed away I realised I had forgotten the title. With no one to ask the book was lost to me somewhere within the household clutter that results from many lives well lived. I recently decided to try and find the name of the book and was surprised to find how simple the t ...more
Courtney
There is so much I loved about The Young Visiters. Mainly, I think, because it was written by a nine year-old. Young Daisy had such an imagination and adorable perception of the world around her. I loved that the editor and publisher kept the original spelling and format of the book--it really helped create the voice of the young author and made it so much fun to read. While a nine year-old can't be expected to create a masterpiece in character and plot, I so thoroughly enjoyed every minute of t ...more
Kat
I'd never heard of this book until a friend at work told me about it. She couldn't remember the name of it, or who it was written by — all she could recall was that the author was a nine-year-old British girl and that the BBC made a movie about it several years ago. She thought it would be the kind of book I'd enjoy. So after some Googling and research on IMDb, we learned that the book is The Young Visiters.

The original manuscript was written in the late nineteenth century, in an exercise book,
...more
Syn Yan
What were you like when you were 9?

I stumbled upon this book online one day and fell in love immediately. Very adorable short novel from nine year Miss Ashford. Ignore the spelling and punctuation errors to really enjoy the book, focus instead on a young girl ideals of the adult world of romance, fashion and society. I admire her mature yet innocent style of writing as well as her wide range of vocabulary in writing a romance novel involving high society.

Miss Ashford is indeed a child prodigy an
...more
Katie
This was a fun little read! A nine-year-old girl in Victorian England wrote a story about the romantic misadventures of several nobles and commoners in her notebook, forgot about it for several years, and then redisovered it as a grown-up. It got passed around among friends for teh lulz until it fell into a publisher's hands, was released to the general public and sold tremendously well. The descriptions of the housing and fashions and desserts of the very posh are particularly vivid, and the ve ...more
Abiyasha
The Young Visiters is a charming book. Written by Daisy Ashford when she was 9 years old in 1890 and full of spelling mistakes, this book is destined to be one of the charming books ever written. For 9 years old girl, the plot in the book is quite surprising and I wonder, how could she write like that? To me, the spelling mistakes add the charm of this book.

I can't say a lot about The Young Visiters but I can say that I love this book and enjoy it very much!
Alisha
Evidently the first attempt of a 9-year-old Victorian child at novel-writing, forgotten about for several years, then rediscovered when she was grown up and circulated amongst her friends to provide some amusement. A charming amount of misspelling. It has a few giggles in it, like when Bernard Clark "always had a few prayers in the hall and some whiskey afterwards as he was rarther pious" or when he decides that he must not propose marriage in the city, but in a country setting, where they can b ...more
Ann
Absolutely delightful and laugh-out-loud funny in many, many places! I was convinced this could not possibly have been written by a nine year-old and had my suspicions that it was really written by J.M. Barrie, who wrote the preface to the first edition of The Young Visitors. But Wikipedia supports the young Miss Ashford, so I will too. Whatever. Just read this book and don't bother to stifle your giggles.
Lydia
A charming and brief novella written by nine year old Daisy Ashford in 1919. Sort of a cross between your grade school creative writing project, an Austen novel, and The Importance of Being Earnest, the plot is frequently baffling but often hilarious. An excellent quick read when you feel the need to take things less seriously, the Young Visiters may be downloaded as a kindle e-book for free on Amazon.
Roybot
Now, why couldn't Jane Eyre be even half so entertaining as this? This hilarious look at high society, as seen through the eyes of a nine-year-old author, follows Mr. Salteena and his ill fated attempt to become a gentleman so that he might woo over the lovely Ethel Monticue. Unsurprisingly, this is a very fast and delightful read.

The whole thing is, of course, absurd, but in the very best of ways. Ashford's poor spelling and grammar don't hurt, but the real amusement comes in seeing the cast in
...more
Belcky
I saw this rather (or "rarther") eccentric-looking book on my travels last year, and only glanced at the inner panels of the dust jacket, thinking it was cute, but that the story of it being written by a nine-year-old girl born in 1881 was just a gimmick (y'know, like Lemony Snickett). It's not.

It really is a tale of Victorian romance as cooked up by little Victorian girl. They've retained most of her creative spelling and lack of dialogue punctuation. As such, it felt like a true glimpse into t
...more
Becky
9-year old Daisy Ashford wrote this in 1890, it was published in 1919 spelling errors kept. Called an "inadvertent spoof" of Victorian society, it is amazing that a 9-year old would keep interest enough to write this. Mr. Salteena is an old man of 42 who visits a friend Bernard, with his young 17-year old friend Ethel. Salteena goes on to London to try to get into society, while Bernard falls in love with Ethel and has the great idear to take her to London where they eventually marry. Her parent ...more
Jarm Del Boccio
As a writer, I chuckled all the way through this book. The choice and placement of words is priceless. It's amazing what this 9 year old girl knew and observed about relationships! It's an easy read. I'm looking forward to viewing the DVD based on Daisy's short Victorian romance.
Cassandra
I did not think I would enjoy this, but it is an amusing distillation of Edwardian (more so than Victorian, in my mind) novels -- written by a nine year old who had read Dodo I am sure, amongst many others, and then wrote her own story. I think my favourite part of it is how things she overheard adults in her life speak of work into the story, so there is a Crystale Palace which, being a Palace, of course nobility resides there, and so forth. It charms me just as medieval arthurian stories do, w ...more
Margot Jennifer
"The greatest novel ever written by a nine-year-old" and I agree. Her use of language and portrayal of adult interactions is extremely keen and very humorous. This story is a quick and delightful read. I would like to have known Daisy Ashford at age nine.
Lizzie
The Young Visiters is hilarious and cute! It was written by a nine year old girl in 1890 with the original spelling and punctuation included. A totally unique book and it only takes a couple of hours to read.
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Daisy Ashford, full name Margaret Mary Julia Ashford (later Devlin) was an English writer who is most famous for writing The Young Visiters, a novella concerning the upper class society of late 19th century England, when she was just nine years old. The novella was published in 1919, preserving her juvenile spelling and punctuation. She wrote the title as "Viseters" in her manuscript, but it was p ...more
More about Daisy Ashford...
Love and Marriage Daisy Ashford: Her Book Where Love Lies Deepest The Hangman's Daughter and Other Stories The Classic Works of Daisy Ashford

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“This is agony cried Mr Salteena clutching hold of a table my life will be sour grapes and ashes without you.” 9 likes
“We must go for a day in the country and when surrounded by the gay twittering of the birds and the smell of the cows I will lay my suit at her feet and he waved his arm wildly at the gay thought.” 3 likes
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