Maud Hart Lovelace's Betsy-Tacy books are intensely autobiographical. The character Carney Sibley was based on her friend Marion Willard, whose life paralleled Carney's in many ways. Like Carney, her father was a banker and she had two younger brothers. Like Carney, she went off to college at Vassar. Like Carney, she had a beau very similar to Larry Humphreys. And, like Carney, she married a dashing, wealthy young man.
The finding of a cache of letters written from Marion at Vassar to her parents in Mankato, Minnesota was the impetus for the writing of this book. These letters, plus Carney's husband's letters home from World War I and her son's from World War II, form the core of a moving, stunning biography of an ordinary girl whose story was fictionally recorded by one of the most beloved authors of the 20th century.