These novels about a young girl named Betsy and her friends Tacy and Tib growing up in Minnesota at the turn of the 20th century have inspired the dedication of legions of fans. There are yearly Betsy-Tacy conventions in Lovelace’s hometown of Mankato, Minnesota organized by the Betsy-Tacy Society, a community of women dedicated to preserving the spirit of these books. Harper Perennial editor Jennifer Hart is also an avid fan.
Reading these books recently, I felt myself really wishing that I had read them when I was younger. Growing up, my absolute favorite book was Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan. In high school, Willa Cather’s O Pioneers! was the book that made me love writing about literature. The Betsy-Tacy books appeal to the same sensibility as MacLachlan and Cather’s works, all of which feature Midwestern settings and strong and independent female characters.
Harper Perennial Modern Classics has repackaged the final six novels into three double-book volumes. Heaven to Betsy/Betsy in Spite of Herself, Betsy Was a Junior/Betsy and Joe, and Betsy and the Great World/Betsy’s Wedding are all newly available. These volumes also include forewords by Meg Cabot, Anna Quindlen, and Laura Lippman – all of whom are Betsy-Tacy fans themselves.