From the Publisher
"[Wemmlinger's] quick-moving and well-written story employs appropriately old-fashioned speech, and beliefs and the result is enthralling." --Kirkus Reviews
"Fans of Ann Rinaldi will be drawn to Wemmlinger's impeccably researched and compelling debut." --Publishers Weekly
"An interesting picture of upper middle class existence in this debut novel set at a time when women were just beginning to see themselves as autonomous." --School Library Journal
VOYA - Stacey Hayman
Edwina Booth, daughter of noted stage tragedian Edwin Booth and niece of assassin John Wilkes Booth, matures from a girl into a young woman during the years of 1880 to 1885. Her unique social status allows a variety of historically significant people to wander through her life. The choices and actions made are true as referenced through the research cited in the Sources section, but the details and the dialogue are embellished. Romance is blossoming as the story begins, but Edwina's relationship with Downing quickly becomes overshadowed by familial obligations. Soon the focus of the story becomes Edwin Booth and the unappealing choices that he forces his daughter to make. Edwina lets the unhealthy situation fester long enough to cause Downing mental anguish, and then she herself dissolves into a spineless, whiny mess. With the help of a new romantic relationship and some harsh truths shared by those closest to Edwin and Edwina, the father-daughter relationship is reorganized into a more appropriate dynamic. Intriguing insights into the mental and emotional make-up of John Wilkes Booth and the sub-story of Joseph Booth's (John and Edwin's brother) tragic romance are the best aspects of this novel. President Garfield's wounding and General Grant's banking scandal and subsequent death feel more like name-dropping than the marking of significant events within the context of Edwina's life. Stilted writing and some unlikable characters made this book feel more like homework than reading for enjoyment.
Children's Literature - Greg M. Romaneck
Edwina Booth is a young woman hamstrung by circumstance and family secrets. Her father, Edwin Booth, is a renowned actor whose talents have been critically applauded throughout her life. Sadly, despite the talents of her father and other relatives who also performed on stage, the Booth family legacy is overshadowed by the horrendous act of assassination conducted by her late uncle, John Wilkes Booth. Fifteen years have passed since the mid-April evening when Edwina's uncle shot President Lincoln at Ford's Theater in Washington. Now, Edwina leads a lonely existence tending to her ill stepmother while her father morosely plays out his life role. Over time, Edwina discovers that people are not what they always seem to be. Indeed, even a person as close to you as a loving father may well have hidden dimensions that color and control happiness. In this historical novel readers are introduced to the famous Booth family. The author presents the Booths in a way that is both true to historical fact and with an eye for the world of theater. Unfortunately, the narrative lags in places and takes a great deal of time to play out a relatively simple theme. In telling the story of Edwina Booth from this thematic perspective, Raymond Wemmlinger demonstrates both the gifts and flaws frequently inherent in a first novel.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up
This story, set in the elegant society of the 1880s, keeps readers at a distance that emulates the social period of the times. Despite being told in first person by Edwina, the niece of assassin John Wilkes Booth, the novel retains a detached quality, never showing more than would be polite in mixed company. While her father, Edwin, is a wonderful actor and worthy of accolades, the attention the Booth family receives is more of the "notorious" variety due to their familial association with the man who shot President Lincoln. The teen's desire to be a good, supportive daughter to her temperamental father and mentally unbalanced stepmother overrides standing up for what she believes is most important in her life: getting married to Downing Vaux and beginning her own family. Circumstances make Edwina's plans spiral out of control, leaving her with no choice but to follow her father's arrangement of her life. Wemmlinger presents an interesting picture of upper middle class existence in this debut novel set at a time when women were just beginning to see themselves as autonomous. Thoughtful teens will enjoy Booth's Daughter .
Charli OsborneCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.