CLM's Reviews > The Ranch Girls at Boarding School

The Ranch Girls at Boarding School by Margaret Vandercook
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Aug 27, 12

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bookshelves: 20th-century, series, schoolstory, united-states, cousins
Read from July 04 to 29, 2012

Frieda Ralston, along with her cousin, Jean Bruce, and Olive Ralston (apparently adopted by the Ranch Girls in a previous book) have left Rainbow Lodge in Wyoming to come east. Their first stop was New York City to obtain medical treatment for Frieda's sister, Jack (Jacqueline), who suffered a bad fall at Yellowstone Park and may never walk again (don't worry, I am sure the doctors will work a 1913 era miracle).

While Jack and the girls' erstwhile chaperone, Ruth Drew, are in NYC, the other three have enrolled at Primrose Hall, a boarding school for fifty girls set in a beautiful valley along the Hudson River. The school is housed in a red brick mansion of the old colonial period, complete with lovely garden, which has been in the family of headmistress Katherine Winthrop for five generations. In addition to its "excellent reputation as a finishing school," which these western girls doubtless need to smooth out their rough corners, Lafayette and Washington are rumored to have been long-ago visitors.

Things begin badly when Olive, who apparently spent the first fourteen years of her life living with Indians, and was "rescued" and taken in by the Ranch Girls two years ago, goes for an unauthorized early morning walk the second day of school. Not only is she embarrassed in front of the school for accidentally breaking a rule but a mean girl says loudly to her friends, "When will you learn not to be friendly to objectionable persons whom no one knows anything about?" The snobby Primrose Hall girls don't realize the Ranch Girls are quite rich due to the discovery of a gold mine in Book 1, and the Ranch Girls are determined to be liked on their own merits.

Unfortunately, a major theme is whether Olive has Indian blood, and it seems clear that a) this is a cause for great concern to the adults although not necessarily to Olive, who is more worried about being a burden to her rich friends and plans to return to the Indian village where she grew up to teach, and b) she will eventually be revealed to be the long lost scion of a wealthy (non-Indian) family. Obviously, the words "Native American" had not yet been coined when this series was written.
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Hannah (last edited Jul 04, 2012 07:16AM) (new)

Hannah What a lovely cover. Have you read any of the Ruth Fielding series by Alice Emerson?


message 2: by CLM (last edited Jul 04, 2012 02:49PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

CLM I have but must admit they never made much impression on me. Some may turn up as I continue going through my boxes and cataloging my finds.


message 3: by Hannah (new)

Hannah CLM wrote: "I have but must admit they never made much impression on me. Some may turn up as I continue going through my boxes and cataloguing my finds."


I've got one Fielding book that belonged to my grandmother. The cover kinda reminded me of this one. I've never tried reading it to be honest.


message 4: by CLM (new) - rated it 3 stars

CLM I must have picked this up due to the school story aspect but had forgotten about it until it came to light in the great unpacking project last week. How was your trip? Fun, I hope!


message 5: by CLM (new) - rated it 3 stars

CLM Certainly not, but I will be disappointed if you say you returned without any books!


message 6: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan Oh my!!! Wow!!! Didn't you ship them?!?! How could you have carried them??? Absurd? Nope.


message 7: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan Smart woman!


message 8: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan Abigail, They sound wonderful!! I'm so glad you got them, and right from the source. What bookshops did you go to? Any particularly memorable ones?


message 9: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan I would like. Thank you, Abigail. I'd like to see them all.


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