Gentle Julia, first published 1922.
Miss Julia Atwater, 20, is an unrivaled belle with a mulititude of suitors. “The responsibilities of a lady who is almost officially the prettiest person in a town persistently claiming sixty-five thousand inhabitants are often heavier than the world suspects, and there were moments when Julia found the position so trying that she would have preferred to resign ...”
However, the true protaganist of this tale is Julia’s niece, 13-year-old Florence. Florence is an assertive, rambunctious young lady (a female Penrod of sorts) who lobbies for the success of her ideal man (the awkward Dill Noble) in the pursuit for the hand of Julia. Florence’s misadventures with her young cousin Herbert add to the fun.
Tarkington, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, was a prolific and popular writer, and many of his books were best-sellers. Nearly a century later, his humorous take on the feats and foibles of young people is still highly enjoyable.
This just *barely* qualifies as "illustrated" ---- a beautiful color frontispiece, and three full-page pencil drawings.
I hope Tarkington gains some fans, his books are so enjoyable.
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