From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
Nathaniel Benson is Mattie's primary love interest in the novel. He's a painter and an apprentice to the Peale family and he's apparently got great-looking hair. Interestingly enough, Mattie's interest in Nathaniel is not the main emphasis of this story. Mattie's relationship with Nathaniel is only one part of her life, not the sum of it. In the end, he's a part of her family, but so are many other people.