Growing up in Sherwood Park, a sleepy enclave in Yonkers where nothing exciting ever happened, I was captivated by the adventures of Nancy Drew. Captivated, too, by the number of orphans I found walking the pages of the Drews.
In The Secret of the Old Clock, for instance, when Nancy rescues a child who has fallen into a river, I discovered that the child was being raised by two elderly aunts. Doesn’t she have a mother? This was electrifying; I read on to hear that Nancy’s own mother had died and she was being raised by her father and Hannah Gruen, their housekeeper. A few chapters later, Nancy met Grace and Allison Cooper, two sisters were running a small farm by themselves, as both of their parents had died.