They Loved to Laugh
By Kathryn Worth
Publisher: Bethlehem Books
Publication Date: September 1996
Illustration Details: B/W illustrations by Marguerite de Angeli
Number of Pages: 254
"So little are you, Martitia. So little and so solemn. If you would only laugh back at us maybe we'd let you alone. Can't you learn to laugh too?"Martitia is a solemn, grieving teenager who comes to live with the Gardners after her parents die. She now has five "brothers" who make it a priority to bring ruin upon her life with teasing. They urge her she only needs to learn to laugh. Romance is intertwined throughout, an always constant battle of whether she loves Clarkson or Jonathan. The five brothers are closely bonded, and as they go separate ways, Martitia becomes more and more apart of the family. She learns her fair share of things and has good ideas. But best of all, she learns to laugh.
I have read many, many Historical Romances from the 1800 period, but none that compare to They Loved to Laugh. I found this book unique because of how closely the brothers were bonded and devoted to one another to the point where one would let the other have the girl he loved. Most 1800 romances I read, are about Christian people, I loved the different approach with using the Quaker faith. This book also, simply, teaches how things were done back in the 1800s on a farm and how everyone had a different role to play--as Martitia finds her own role. I thought it was thought-provoking when Ms. Worth would give the details of the job of silk. I never knew how the silkworm did what it did, so I loved learning about it’s life span and what Martitia, Ruth, and Addison had to do to keep them alive.
I don’t know of many weaknesses in this book, except for the fact that in the very end, Martitia simply states *SPOILER* that she has always loved Jonathan, yet it seemed like she loved Clarkson from the moment she met him, and only--maybe-- admired Jonathan (don’t forget how afraid she was of him!). Also, when the case was being presented it seemed to me that we only saw the Gardner’s side of it, and never heard anything for Uncle James--I thought that we had ought to at least hear what Uncle James’ lawyer had come up with.
I think any Historical Romance reader would appreciate this book and the plot that surrounds the romance.
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