Katy Carr, a 12-year-old in turn-of-the-century America, has an accident through her own disobedience when she falls from a swing and injures her back. She is confined to bed for several months and is invalid for two years, during which time she improves much and comes to be the mainstay of her motherless family.

A classic childhood book, with much to be said for it. It is less openly sentimental and religious than one might expect, while treating of themes such as virtue and the offering up of pain. Cousin Helen who is a grownup destined for a lifetime of painful immobility is Katy’s model and just about manages not to be too good to be true. It is she who teaches Katy how to make good use of her illness.

Tim Golden is a computer programmer in London.  He is also the editor of the Good-to-Read website.