Hanna is a vinyl, 14” (36 cm) doll from Ruby Red Fashion Friends, sculpted by Dianna Effner. Great as a play doll or collectible.
I’ve been a long-time collector of American Girl dolls. Pretty brand loyal. A few Our Generation outfits and accessories here and there, but when it comes to the dolls themselves, none of the other companies grabbed me. So it took me a hot minute to consider Ruby Red Fashion Friends dolls. They kept popping up on my Instagram feed, though, and what is Instagram but an endless commercial for the next thing you want?
Josefina was the sixth doll in Pleasant Company’s lineup back in 1997 when I was sixteen and more interested in boys than dolls. I still wanted dolls, but I wouldn’t admit it. Oh, my sister and I bought the Spice Girls Barbies right about then, but as a joke. I mean, nobody expected we really liked those. The whole collection. And I found a Jonathan New Kids on the Block doll on eBay to keep them company. Again, as a joke.
Cecile and Marie-Grace are ten year old girls in New Orleans, 1853 — the year of the big yellow fever outbreak. The girls pull together to help where they can and build a friendship at the same time.
The story itself is fine. I don’t have any beef with the characters (except that they’re almost never together). Switching their perspectives from book to book shows the reader what life was like for a white girl and a free person of color. I didn’t honestly see much of a difference, except for some pretty hard segregation. I’m sure there was more to it than that, and it would have been interesting to learn about. It was interesting to see how primitive their knowledge of medicine and disease were in 1853. If this were just a book for middle-grade kids to read to make history fun, I’d move on and probably never thing about this series again.