I have long been familiar with Elsie Dinsmore, having read these books at my grandmother's home as a child in the 1960s. They were old then, and I think most young girls of spirit who read them in their time were as disgusted with the pious, sanctimonious, silly Elsie as the first reviewer. The Elsie series would have been one of those awful books that well-meaning parents would have given their daughters in hopes that the girls would have been inspired to become dormats. Frankly, Elsie's author should have read her Bible a little more and given her heroine a little more spirit of real Biblical heroines like Deborah-leader of Israel's army, Jael-who murdered an enemy general, Esther-who used her charms to save her people, and Ruth-who schemed to get the man she wanted. Elsie is simply put, a drip.
My grandmother preferred Peck's A story of a bad boy!
If you are in the mood for a lighthearted, uncomplicated read, this is the book for you. Tish is the story of three 'elderly' (in their 50s!) ladies led by the indomitable Tish. Tish, an independent sort, backs a local automobile race, chases spies in Canada, helps a Syrian immigrant, and helps love find a way.
Set in the United States a few years prior to WWII, the heroines are both ladylike and spicy. There are a few references that are politically incorrect, such as the infamous "n--- in the woodpile" phrase, but none are meant cruelly and reflect the mores of the day.