Dorothy Canfield (1879-1958) was a popular writer in the first half of the century. The daughter of the president of the Ohio State University, she wrote works of fiction and nonfiction that brought widespread attention to the Montessori method of child development. Her nonfiction books, written under her married name of Dorothy Canfield Fisher, include A Montessori Mother (1912), A Montessori Manual (1913), Mothers and Children (1914), and Self-Reliance (1916).
Unlike other young women of her generation, who were “bred up from childhood to sit behind tea-tables and say the right things to tea-drinkers,” Sylvia Marshall—the “twig” of this novel—was reared to think for herself and to trust her own instincts and experience. This, coupled with her passionate temperament, makes Sylvia a compelling figure as she resists efforts to mold her with every rebellious fiber of her independent nature.