The Maida series of books were my spouse's favorites when she was growing up. This is the first of the series and was published in 1909 (well, my book says 1909, the wikipedia says 1910). Maida is a sick, little rich girl and her father, doctor and friend decide that she might be made well if only she could engage in something that truly interested her. She gets all excited by an old shop and they buy it and let her set it up (in Charlestown, MA). She makes her first real friends whilst the proprietress of the shop and over time regains her health.
I suppose that Maida painted a more-or-less rosy, but at least partially realistic picture of society some hundred years ago. Much seemed familiar to the things I read as a child. Some of the game were unfamiliar. Overall, it's a nice enough book with a basically cheerful, uplifting message. Good reading for kids and ok for us old folks who want to indulge into a bit of nostalgia.
I was interested to find out that the Maida series was written over a considerable period of time, four or five decades, and that the author, Inez Haynes Irwin was an ardent feminist. The feminism isn't overt in this book, but my spouse, who has read all the books in the series many times, tells me that it comes through in that boys and girls are treated more-or-less as equals in the series.