Books on Land and at Sea

In Laura's journal she mentioned the Little Prudy books. This series of books was written by Sophie May, whose real name was Rebecca Sophia Clarke. Like many female authors of the period, she wrote under a pseudonym, or a fake name. Some women wrote anonymously, hoping to keep attention away from their families while others chose a different name, often a man’s, in hopes of getting more impartial and flattering reviews. When Clarke finished her first story in 1861, she signed her name, Sophie, and then said: "Well, I'll call it May, for I may write again and I may not.” She subsequently penned “Sophie May” as her author’s name.

Sohpie May's fiction books were popular between 1868 and 1904. The author used her nieces and nephews as inspiration to write realistic stories about children who were curious and uninhibited. She was one of the first authors to write stories for children convincingly depicting them as humorous, imaginative and mischievious, sometimes even naughty. Much of the fiction of the time portrayed children as more perfect than they really were.

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