Literature / The Story Girl

Sara Stanley is only fourteen, but she can weave tales that are impossible to resist. In the charming town of Carlisle, children and grown-ups alike flock from miles around to hear spellbinding tales. And when Bev King and his younger brother Felix arrive for the summer, they, too, are captivated by the Story Girl. Whether she's leading them on exciting misadventures or narrating timeless stories — from the scary "Tale of the Family Ghost" to the fanciful "How Kissing Was Discoverd" to the bittersweet "The Blue Chest of Rachel Ward" — the Story Girl has her audience hanging on every word.

A sequel, The Golden Road, continued the adventures of the Story Girl and her cousins. The novels were written by Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables. The novels were partially adapted into the TV series Road to Avonlea, which fused the cast of of The Story Girl with that of Anne of Green Gables and transposed the setting to Avonlea.

These novels contain examples of:

  • Brutal Honesty: Peg Bowen, who makes some frank but cruel observations about the children when they take refuge at her home during a blizzard. She goes too far when she tells Cecily she looks too sickly to live until adulthood, and Dan tells her to shut up.
    • Later when she goes to church she keeps interrupting the service with comments about how stuck-up and hypocritical most of the parishioners are.
  • Cat Up a Tree: The Story Girl's cat Paddy is often lost, sick or otherwise endangered. He finally uses up his nine lives shortly before the Story Girl leaves with her father for Paris.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Felicity and Peter, very gradually.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: How nearly everyone except The Story Girl sees The Awkward Man.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Felix and Felicity are both named for deceased relatives.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Dan, especially with Felicity.
  • Disappeared Dad: Peter's father left when he was three. He returns in The Golden Road.
  • The Drifter: The Story Girl's wealthy and talented but somewhat aimless father who spends much of her childhood travelling in Europe. He returns at the end of The Golden Road, however, and makes plans for them both to settle in Paris.
  • Door To Door Episode: The children call on their neighbors to raise funds for the school library in The Story Girl.
    • In The Golden Road Cecily does this to collect money and signatures for her missionary quilt.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Much is made of Felicity's cooking skills. Subverted with the Story Girl, however, who despite her best efforts never becomes a good cook.
  • Fragile Flower: Pale, plaintive Sara Ray is crying more often than not. Somewhat understandable given how cold and strict her mother is.
  • Full-Name Basis: Sara Ray is almost always referred to by her full name.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Applies to the Story Girl and Felicity even if they are cousins. The Story Girl wishes she were as useful and domestic as Felicity, and Felicity who is unimaginative and conventional wishes she were as interesting as the Story Girl. (She also is jealous of Sara's expensive clothes.)
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Cecily develops a mild but persistant cough after being caught out in a snowstorm. Hints through the rest of the novel suggest that she dies of consumption before reaching adulthood.
  • Maiden Aunt: Aunt Olivia who at 29 is seen by the children as too old to ever find a husband. She's far too young to fit the trope for elderly unmarried female relatives, but that's how the children see her. She does end up getting married in The Golden Road.
  • May-December Romance: Between The Awkward Man and Alice Reade.
  • Missing Mom: The Story Girl's mother is dead, as is Bev and Felix's mother.
  • One Steve Limit: There are two Saras—Sara Stanley and Sara Ray. The children have corrected this themselves by almost always referring to Sara Stanley as "the Story Girl".
  • Parental Abandonment: Bev and Felix's rather poor father sends them to live with their aunt and uncle so that he can go to Rio de Janeiro for work he badly needs. The Story Girl's wealthy father leaves her in the care of her aunts and uncles so that he This could be an example of Values Dissonance, where a widowed father would seek the aid of female relatives to raise a daughter.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Beverly King, a character so flat that it is possible to make it through the entire book without noticing his first name. The novel pokes fun at his status as the Straight Man a few times. He eventually becomes a newspaper editor, which the novel define as a job were someone brings out the best of other people without contributing anything from himself.
  • Scenery Porn
  • Spoiled Sweet: The Story Girl's father has a small fortune. She is sometimes a little tactless about parading her expensive clothing in front of the other girls, but on the whole is kind-hearted and thoughful.
  • The Storyteller: The titular Story Girl.
  • Teen Genius: The Story Girl's extraordinary storytelling and acting skills are noted by virtually everyone. She even makes the multiplication tables fascinating when she recites them
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Cecily who grows progressively frailer throughout The Golden Road (perhaps with tuberculosis) and who the Story Girl realizes will not live to grow up.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: The Story Girl foretells this for Peter and Felicity.
  • Where Are They Now: At the end of The Golden Road, the Story Girls tells everyone's fortunes, which serves as a sort of epilogue for the reader.
  • When She Smiles: Poor weepy, nondescript Sara Ray looks pretty on the rare occasion when she smiles.
  • Wicked Witch: Most of the children think Peg Bowen is one at first, even believing she bewitched the cat Paddy. Averted in The Golden Road when she takes them in during a snowstorm and turns out to eccentric and sharp-tongued but fundamentally decent.
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks: Peter whose mother works as a washerwoman and whose alcoholic father walked out on them. Like other L.M. Montgomery characters in similar circumstances he is determined to better himself, and in fact, next to the Story Girl, comes across as the most gifted of the children.