Very charming and with, at times, a surprisingly modern feel to it, this story written in 1912 is about a 19-year-old young woman who has grown up in an orphanage. She is sent off for a college education, all expenses paid by an anonymous benefactor, "Mr. Smith", whose only stipulation is that she send him regular reports of her experiences at school.
The author, Alice Jane Chandler Webster, was born in 1876. Her mother was a niece of Mark Twain and her father was Twain's business manager and publisher of many of Twain's books. This has nothing, of course, to do with this book but I just found it to be an interesting bit of info.
This story was written 8 years before the 19th Amendment went into effect, so the forward thinking of the protagonist is a pleasant surprise, and the humorous tone makes for a fun read. Of course there were limitations to a woman's role in society but I enjoyed watching this particular young woman come into her own, both intellectually and socially.
The plot develops through the series of letters the protagonist writes to her unknown benefactor, from her freshman year through to graduation. She has no idea who he is, yet she writes him warm, friendly, amusing accounts of her experiences with life outside the orphanage, her developing friendships and her intellectual growth. In spite of the fact that he never replies to her letters, she treats him as if he were a kindly uncle.
And this is a romance. The reader will catch on rather quickly to who "Mr. Smith" is but our protagonist only learns the truth at the end of the story. It makes for an enjoyable tale about a very likeable protagonist. There's humor, fun dialogue and an interesting look at a young woman's life in 1912.