Bethany Brant is the daughter of a preacher, but she finds it hard to live up to her fathers high expectations for her, especially with her natural bent for finding trouble.
When Bethany and her younger brother, Abel, are sent to live with relatives after their mother dies in childbirth, the plucky eleven-year-old tries to act like a minister’s child is expected to—she helps around the farmhouse with the endless chores; uncomplainingly tutors her tomboy cousin, Mattywill, in reading; and agrees to be the angel in the Christmas pageant to help raise money for her father’s church, even though she hates the thought of flying across the stage on ropes. But sometimes being truly good just is not possible. Wouldn’t even the best-behaved preacher’s daughter be sorely tried if her resentful cousin put frogs in her bed, or if she found out that the man in charge of raising the church money ended each of his fund-raising campaigns in the nearby saloon?
Set in turn-of-the-century rural Texas, Behave Yourself, Bethany Brant is by turns hilarious and touching, and always entertaining. Bethany is one of Patricia Beatty’s spunkiest and most human heroines, and her story will long be remembered by readers.
Well regarded for her lively stories about the American West, Beatty has written another rouser, this time set in turn-of-the-century Texas. Its heroine, Bethany Brant, is a preacher's daughter, hard-pressed to be good, especially when her mother dies and she and her brother are sent to live with relatives. The period details are worked handily into the plot (the arrival of a circus is one high point), and Bethany's frank, colloquial voice sets a humorous tone. Though Bethany's rivalry with her cousin Mattywill is awkwardly resolved, and a suspected villain proves less dastardly than the reader is led to expect, this is an entertaining account of frontier lifeno less so for showing some of the hardships. An author's note provides background, elaborating on the role of women and other historical elements. (10-14)