Sarah's Daughter Author:Ruth Bass FOR READERS 12 YEARS OLD TO ADULT Rose begins to think of her mother as Sarah because the very word mother makes her cry. She continually asks herself what her mother would do about breakfast for the family; about how to take care of her siblings; about her father s drinking and going off to a hotel almost every evening. After the unusual... more » accident that killed her mother, fourteen-year-old Rose Hibbard copes. She is forced to take on her silently grieving father and her younger brother and sister. Without a role model of her own, she becomes one for her eight-year-old sister. She makes breakfast, gets everyone started for the day, does the washing and ironing and sewing, and still manages to get to school and do her own homework. Interspersed with Rose s moments of panic or despair are warm hours shared with her friends, Alice and Emily, who listen and help and have fun with her; times familiar to most American teenagers today. As are the nights she stares at the moon and wishes on stars, as well as her developing romance with young Newton Barnes. Just when Rose thinks her family will find a way to manage without a mother, her father says she will have to leave school for good in the spring. Her teacher is her main adult ally. School is where she is happiest and feels most comfortable, where life feels almost normal for someone her age. The one thing that has kept her going, giving her the will to take care of everyone and stay awake in class is her lifelong dream of becoming a teacher, and it disappears in a matter of seconds. Her brother and sister often sneak off to cry at their mother s grave, and Rose s father, unable to face his own loss, becomes increasingly gruff and silent. She overhears a gossipy neighbor saying something about her father being at the drink. And when she comes home early one day and discovers her father, his trousers in a heap on the floor, laughing in her parents bedroom with a half-clothed woman, she flees to the wo« less
Good read for a tween-ager who liked the Laura Ingalls Wilder series of "Little House" stories. Frontier family suffers a tragedy that puts the oldest daughter in charge of a household long before she was ready to give up her childhood. Also discusses a family's secrets that can arise after the loss of a mother. Good descriptions of how farm and household chores were accomplished by pioneers. As in many frontier stories, the schoolmarm plays a central part in helping the lonely girl.