Though not as good as her earlier book, "Catherine, Called Birdy," Cushman continues her stories about strong young women nicely with this tale set in California as it is being settled. Lucy begins a lending library and becomes even stronger as she figures out just who she is.
I liked this book very much. Lucy changes throughout the story and sticks up for herself as the adults around her (in true Cushman style) act in an ignorant fashion. Cushman steers away from the middle ages in this book, and she doesn't seem as comfortable in 1800s California as she is in medieval England. Still, she sets a good scene in the settlement and does well with the dialect and vernacular of frontier America.
Good for young girls as a read-aloud, or for older ones to read solo.
This book, as with most by this author, is very, very base. It's also a little disturbing. One of the main characters is Lucy's little brother-whose goal in life is to collect 50 different words for liquor. He dies tragically when he's got only 47. The way Lucy determines to honor him is by collecting the remaining 3 names, plus one more. This book really seems to magnify the low, dirty aspects of the California gold rush.
Great book! Was also made into a movie and aired on CBS(Feb 2001) starring Glen Close.