DAUGHTER OF WINTER
Candlewick. October 2010. Tr $16.99
Young Adult - 352p.
"As the ground of her past shifts, a girl finds her way to an unexpected future in this compelling historical novel about survival and strength"
It’s 1849, and twelve-year-old Addie lives in the shipbuilding town of Essex, Massachusetts. Her father has left the family to seek gold on the West Coast, and now the flux has taken the lives of her mother and baby brother, leaving Addie all alone. Her fear of living as a servant in some other home drives her into the snowy woods, where she survives on her own for several weeks before a nomadic, silver-haired Wampanoag woman takes her in. Slowly, the startling truth of Addie’s past unfolds. Through an intense ancient ceremony, and by force of her own wits and will, Addie unravels the mystery of her identity — and finds the courage to build a future unlike any she could ever have imagined. – Editorial review on Amazon.com
It is 1849, and 12-year-old Addie is in shock. Her father has left the family's Massachusetts home to look for gold in California, and her mother and brother have just died from the much-feared flux. Typically, children in this predicament find themselves taken into the homes of strangers and often are abused or neglected, so Addie flees to the nearby woods (in spite of the snow) to try and survive on her own. But it's harder than she thought to use the limited skills her father taught her, and so she is grateful for the help offered by Nokummus, an elderly Wampanoag woman, at least until Nokummus claims to be Addie's grandmother. Collins sense of place, incorporation of cultural and historical details, and the richly evoked winter setting make for a vividly imagined novel. An engaging survival story intertwined with a search for identity, this tale is reminiscent of Jean Craighead George's Julie of the Wolves (1972) yet clearly stands on its own as a lyrical piece of historical fiction.
– Melissa Moore