Brooklyn Rose

Brooklyn Rose

4.1 16
by Ann Rinaldi, Kate Forbes

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It's 1900--the dawn of a new century--and never in her wildest dreams did fifteen-year-old Rose Frampton ever think she'd leave her family and home on the peaceful shores of her island plantation in South Carolina . . . especially not to live with a new husband in the land of the Yankees.

But she is doing just that. Rose's new life with her handsome and wealthy

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It's 1900--the dawn of a new century--and never in her wildest dreams did fifteen-year-old Rose Frampton ever think she'd leave her family and home on the peaceful shores of her island plantation in South Carolina . . . especially not to live with a new husband in the land of the Yankees.

But she is doing just that. Rose's new life with her handsome and wealthy husband in Brooklyn, New York, is both scary and exciting. As mistress of the large Victorian estate on Dorchester Road, she must learn to make decisions, establish her independence, and run an efficient household. These tasks are difficult enough without the added complication of barely knowing her husband. As romance blossoms and Rose begins to find her place, she discovers that strength of character does not come easily but is essential for happiness.

Writing in diary form, Ann Rinaldi paints a sensual picture of time and place--and gives readers an intimate glimpse into the heart of a child as she becomes a woman.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
PW called this tale based on the author's grandmother, whose father's financial difficulties pressured her into marrying a wealthy businessman at age 15, "a well-paced, lighter offering" for Rinaldi fans. Ages 10-up. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Rose's sister Heppi is marrying for love, an oddity in North Carolina in 1900. Rose resolves that if she ever marries it, too, will be a marriage of love and not an arranged one. Then Mr. Demarest, a rich silk merchant from New York comes to town. He is charming and handsome and seems to take a special interest in Rose. But at 15 years old, Rose has no interest in marriage, particularly to someone twice her age. However, because she feels it is what her family wants, and believing it is the only way to save them from financial ruin, Rose agrees to marry him. What she never bargains for is that as much as she tries to resist, Rose slowly falls in love with her husband. This book, told in diary format and loosely-based on the lives of the author's grandparents, is a fascinating turn-of-the-century story of family, love, coming of age, and finding one's place in the world. Just as Rose is becoming comfortable with who she is and what her role in life should be, however, the book ends. An additional one or two chapters would be needed to wrap up the story and bring it to a satisfying conclusion. 2005, Harcourt Children's Books, Ages 10 up.
—Pat Trattles
Rinaldi offers a dawn of the twentieth-century historical fiction and coming-of-age novel as fifteen-year-old Rose Frampton leaves her childhood home on a South Carolina island plantation for a daunting new life as the wife of a Yankee businessman. But would the dashing Rene Dumarest have won her heart had he not held the mortgage on her father's land? Young Rose finds herself in Brooklyn, mistress of a large Victorian estate and wife of a wealthy and much older gentleman, struggling to grow into her new and challenging roles. As she learns to make household decisions, manage servants, and acquaint herself with the customs of her new world, she finds romance blooming as well in her marriage. But when Rene's mother visits, Rose questions whether her new independence and confidence has been an illusion after all. Written in journal form, Rose's story moves from a hesitant, childish tone to reflect the thoughts and feelings of a young woman just learning to become perceptive and introspective. The dedication and author's note make clear that Rose and Rene's story is a fictional re-imagining of Rinaldi's grandparents' lives, and it will prove popular with Rinaldi fans. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P J S (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Harcourt, 240p., $17. Ages 12 to 18.
—Mary Arnold
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, November 2004: Rinaldi is known for her ability to bring historic times to life and in this novel she turns her attention to a fictional recreation of her own grandparents' story. Fifteen-year-old Rose Frampton has grown up in Beaufort County, South Carolina, where her family's plantation was spared Sherman's "March to the Sea" but not the financial impact of the Civil War. On her birthday she is given a journal in which she records her life in Beaufort, her sister's beaus, and her own coming-of-age. She writes about her days on the plantation, the daily work of maintaining the house, the schoolmates who gossip about financial matters, and the arrival of Rene Dumarest, the man who notices her from across the room. Rene is a dashing young silk merchant from New York who asks to marry Rose and bring her to his new home in New York City. After a near tragedy, Rose realizes her affection for Rene and agrees to the marriage. Once married, the two arrive in New York where Rose begins her role as "Mistress of Dorchester." She also is introduced to social organizations and the plight of the immigrant. When Rene's mother arrives, Rose must learn to stand up for herself and truly be the household matron she has been training to be. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, Harcourt, 224p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Janis Flint-Ferguson
Kirkus Reviews
Fifteen-year-old Rose, the younger daughter of a South Carolina plantation owner, marries a handsome, very rich silk merchant out of a sense of obligation to her struggling family. Rene, much older and more sophisticated than his child bride, is kind, loving, and supportive through Rose's first forays into New York life. It's a sweet idea, but the story lacks focus, consistency, believable characterization, and credibility. Rinaldi has never lived in the South, or she would know that people on the Gullah islands don't get ice skates for Christmas. Someone should have caught that electric refrigerators weren't invented in 1900. The journal format works very much against it: Rose's voice sounds too old, and entries such as, "a steamer arrived from San Francisco and there are forty-one deaths from the Plague on it," are straight out of the Google center for historical research. And the plot-does Rose love him?-isn't even interesting. An author's note explains that this is Rinaldi's imagined version of the early marriage of her maternal grandparents, whom she never knew. Sometimes Rinaldi hits the mark; here she falls short. (Fiction. 10-15)
From the Publisher

"Rinaldi describes the teen's first year of marriage with grace, tact, and sensitivity."--School Library Journal

"Fans of romance will be swept up."--Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date:
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Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

December 16, 1899

MY BIRTHDAY. Why does one feel so special on her birthday, as if something is about to happen? I received many lovely presents, including this gilt-edged journal book from Daddy. The pages are creamy white and just waiting for my words. They even smell nice, as if they are scented. I'm so excited about it. More excited than I am over the new Gibson Girl shirtwaist Mama gave me or the hair ribbons from my sister.

I'm writing in my new journal this very moment. What shall I say? What could possibly be good enough about my silly old dull life to put down in here?

It is a cold, drizzly day with rain. Some workers are ginning cotton and others are killing the last of the beef. Daddy sold a pair of turkeys to old Mrs. Lewis for a dollar and fifty cents. Oh, this is all so ordinary! But Mama says everything is worth setting down, that someday my granddaughter may read this. Ho! Me with a granddaughter! Imagine!

Here is something worth noting. The Gullah people who live and work around here believe that when you die your soul goes to God but your spirit stays on earth and takes part in all the activities of your people. I like that part of their belief. If I died of a sudden, I'd like my spirit to stay here.

Well, I'm not dying, at least I don't plan to yet, but Daddy talks constantly these days about sending me to school in the North, where I would get a proper American education.

Imagine that! Yankee land. And his own uncle Sumner killed at Chancellorsville!

"North is the only place you have chances," Daddy says. "The chances are all done around here."

Chances for what? I want to ask. But I know he'd say, "To marry the right person." He wants me to wed somebody with money. "Even though that person is a Yankee?" I'd ask. To which he'd say, "The only ones who have money are the Yankees."

This family has had such a problem with money since the war ended thirty-five years ago.

I know one thing. I'm not ever going north. I'm staying right here on Saint Helena's Island. Why, Daddy was only able to buy the house back the year I was born. I know he spent most of his money restoring it to what it was before the war and hasn't got much to dower me with. But I've only just turned fifteen, and he's doing well with the cotton and the horses. We have the best horse farm in the county. And how could I leave here, anyway?

I know another thing, too. If I ever do go away, I'm going to leave my spirit here to help my family. Like the Gullah people do when they die.


MAYBE I OUGHT to get things down right, if I'm going to keep this as a proper journal. The house I sit in, the very room I sit in, is on Saint Helena's Island, off the coast of South Carolina. I'm so used to this place I think everyone should know of it. Certainly they should, upon second thought. Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone lived in a house made of a strong tabby foundation with a double piazza held up by great pillars and a front yard that sloped down to the water? If everyone could hear the wind in the palmetto trees and taste the sand in their mouths when the wind blew? And what about the tides that flow toward land twice each day, then back out again?

To say nothing of the wild ducks and the swampy lands and the cypress trees, the longleaf pine. And the sea oats on the sand dunes that keep the sand from being washed away.

This house I sit in was built years ago by my great-grandfather. My grandparents lost it when General Sherman came through and burned a lot of the homes around here. The white owners were driven away. But General Sherman left this house and a few others standing so the Negroes could live in them and work the land. Then Yankee agents went from plantation to plantation and took the cotton and shipped it north.

My Grandfather Frampton had to go to work as a teacher in the Freedman's School here on the island because he was so destitute after the war. I recollect Grandmother Frampton telling us, before she died, how he looked of a morning when he would get ready to go to work, this wonderful gentleman who'd once been rich and owned dozens of slaves. How she'd hear him early in the morning in the kitchen, getting his own lunch pail ready and moving about quietly. How she couldn't get up to help him for fear of embarrassing him. And how he'd go off, day after day, like a common workingman to earn his living. They were living in a log cabin on the island then, even though this house was still standing. He made sixty dollars a month. Grandmother Frampton couldn't abide seeing him so demeaned, so she started making pies. Not sweet potato and pecan like they do hereabouts, but fruit and cream like they do up north, since that was where she came from. And soon they had to hire people to help her because the pies sold so fast. She made a fortune, so Grandfather didn't have to teach anymore. And that fortune they left to Daddy, who was able to buy this place back for the family. I'm so proud of him for doing that.

Now my daddy grows his cotton again. And breeds his horses. Right now we have thirteen mares and two stallions, and five two-year-olds to be broken to the saddle and bridle before they get shipped to Lexington for the horse auctions.

The pie business is sold. And we're well-off. But still Daddy wants me to go north to school. We have relatives in Connecticut, from Grandmother's connections.

Oh, sometimes the future frightens me so much, I don't want to grow up. I want to be a young girl forever. But I do have opinions. We were brought up in this family to have opinions, but Mama says a proper young lady shouldn't voice hers too loudly or her husband will think her forward and brash. And so I am forward and brash. My husband will just have to abide that in me.

Copyright © 2005 by Ann Rinaldi

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

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Meet the Author

ANN RINALDI is an award-winning author best known for bringing history vividly to life. She lives in central New Jersey.

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