Interactive Historical Fiction e-books

Lacy Makes a Match by Patricia Beatty

By Crumbs it's mine

Lacy Bingham has been feeling the loss of her adoptive mother; at twelve, she is the sole woman in the house, and stepping into Ma Bingham’s shoes is a mighty tall order for a girl in school. Frustrated at all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, mending, and more there is to do for her father and three grown brothers, Lacy casts about for some solution. Inspiration comes in the form of her eldest brother Hector’s sudden elopement: if her two other brothers, Michael and Elbert were to marry, then she would have only one other person to look after! And with that, Lacy hatches a scheme to write to a lonely hearts paper for suitable women. As she hunts for wives for her brothers, Lacy also investigates her own past, curious about how she came to be left on the Bingham’s property as a baby.


Any prize for inventive period fiction would have to take account of Patricia Beatty. It’s 1893 in Coyote Mountain, California, a mining town that has seen busier days, and our heroine is 13-year-old foundling Lacy Bingham, who arrived on the Binghams’ doorstep in a ragged Indian blanket wearing a fine lace cap and lace-trimmed gown. More pressing than the question of her mysterious parentage, though, is her present predicament: with Ma Bingham dead, Lacy is stuck with keeping house for Pa and the three grown Bingham boys.

So, when the eldest gets happily married, Lacy starts plotting with best friend Maud Rowbottom—whose mother is, strategically, the postmistress—to marry off the other two. And since popular Belle Cantrell is the only likely prospect, and neither of the Bingham boys is exactly a Beau Brummel, that will take some doing. Meanwhile Belle, who works in her father’s dry-goods store, puts Lacy onto a San Francisco lace expert who may be able to provide a clue to her parentage.

The ingenious resolution of both problems takes in—among other mad, authentic doings—a traveling magician (who saws off Lacy’s head), an up-to-date San Francisco dentist (who uses the new laughing gas to pull the tooth Lacy breaks losing her head), and the newspaper files of the San Francisco Public Library (where she learns that she probably comes of Irish—as in lace—settlers massacred in the mountains). Not a dull moment—or anything that mightn’t somehow have happened.
— Kirkus
This is another of Patricia Beatty’s charming novels about spunky young girls on America’s frontiers. Lacy inhabits Coyote Mountain, a California mining town vividly brought to life, as is 1890s San Francisco when Lacy takes a trip there. Though many of the supporting characters are a bit simplistic, Lacy’s strong, clear voice, a quick pace, and good humor make up for it, as do Lacy’s amusing—if fanciful—scrapes