Charlotte's Roseby A.E. Cannon
Well! I did it! I have left them all quite speechless.
In 1856, 12-year-old Charlotte and her widowed father are members of a Welsh handcart company on the Mormon Trail, so poor they cannot afford wagons but must push carts from Iowa City to Utah. When a woman/i>
I will carry that baby to Zion,” I shout at them, “just see if I don’t!”
Well! I did it! I have left them all quite speechless.
In 1856, 12-year-old Charlotte and her widowed father are members of a Welsh handcart company on the Mormon Trail, so poor they cannot afford wagons but must push carts from Iowa City to Utah. When a woman in the company dies giving birth, and her husband is too distraught to care for the baby girl, Charlotte grandly offers to care for the baby, whom she names Rose. But taking care of Rose turns out to be much harder than Charlotte expected. She’s stuck; she can’t give Rose back. As she struggles along the trail with the infant, she comes to love Rose, and to dream of life with “her” baby, even though Papa and others remind her that she will have to give Rose back to her father when they part ways at the end of the trail.
From the Hardcover edition.
Lu Ann Brobst Staheli
- Random House Children's Books
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.12(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.59(d)
- Age Range:
- 8 - 12 Years
Read an Excerpt
Saturday, April 19, 1856
Aboard the S. Curling, ready to set sail from Liverpool
Here's a secret I have not told a soul. Not even Papa.
I wish I were famous. Like Queen Victoria, maybe, although I would not care to look like her. She has lovely blue eyes, but she is too short.
So perhaps I would rather be famous like that man Dickens.
I am sure I could do what he does. Publish stories in journals and get paid. Oh, I have so many tales blooming in my head. Comedies. Romances. Tragedies. Some of them are stories Mam told me before she died, but most of them I just made up. I cut and stitched them from air.
My girlfriends back in Port Talbot, Wales, used to love my stories, especially the romances, which I told as we strolled through narrow streets at night. We walked to the Morfa Colliery to greet our fathers and brothers, who were covered with coal dust.
"How do you do it, Charlotte?" my friends would say.
Truly, I don't know. My head is just a cupboard. I open it up and the stories are waiting for me on the shelves.
So it is a huge sadness to me that although I will be thirteen years old come this summer, I cannot read. Nor can I write my stories down.
I must try to remember, then--everything that happens to us as Papa and I commence our journey this nineteenth day of April in the year of our Lord 1856 from the docks of Liverpool, England. Like those children of Israel who searched for the Promised Land, we are headed with seven hundred Mormon brothers and sisters for the distant blue mountains of Utah in America.
I only pray that my remembrances will not unravel and turn back into air but will always hold their shapes in my heart.
Monday, April 21, 1856
On the S. Curling, in Cardigan Bay,
off the Welsh coast
Brother James Bowen sits across the chessboard from me, stroking his gray beard with strong fingers stained from years of scratching the earth for coal. Sister Margaret Bowen stands with her arms folded across her stout bosom, looking over her husband's shoulder. Papa rests on a stool nearby, carving a piece of wood. He's not wearing his hat, so his red hair gleams like copper in the sun.
We're surrounded by ship sounds. Sails snapping in the wind. Passengers gossiping. Children laughing. A band is playing "All Is Well" on the other side of the deck. One of the brothers from London is preaching in that language which I do not care for, but which I must learn because I'm going to America, where they speak English, not Welsh.
There are ship smells, too. Mingled scents of fish and food and wool clothing slightly wet. Papa teases me about my nose, saying I use it more than I use my ears or my eyes--or sometimes my head!
Brother Bowen reaches across the chessboard to make a move.
Just then I take a bite from my hard crust of bread and chew loudly.
Brother Bowen frowns. He draws his hand back as if he has just touched something hot. Sister Bowen catches my eye and winks. She understands what is happening here, of course. Sister Bowen understands everything.
Overhead a circle of seagulls laughs against a bright blue sky. Inside, I laugh with them. Ha! Ha! Ha! I am beating you for the first time ever in my whole life, Brother Bowen.
"Good afternoon, President and Sister Bowen. Brother Edwards."
It's that awful old Brother Nathaniel Roberts and his shriveled wife, Lititia, who believe they are more righteous than the rest of us. They come from Glamorgan County like the Bowens and Papa and me, although Brother Roberts didn't work in the mines.
They used to have money once. You can tell because of the expensive cameo Sister Roberts always wears pinned beneath her chin.
I was hoping we could leave the Robertses behind in Wales.
"Good afternoon, Nathaniel. Lititia," says Papa.
Sister Bowen smiles and nods, though her smile is more polite than friendly. Brother Bowen is too busy scowling at my rook to say hello.
Brother and Sister Roberts pretend to stroll about the deck enjoying the brisk sea air, but they have come to spy. Last night after evening prayers, I overheard them telling handsome Brother George Jenkins and his beautiful wife, Rosa, that playing chess was the first step toward gambling, and that they were disappointed in Brother Bowen. Imagine, they said, a church leader teaching a wild little girl like Charlotte Edwards to play a game like that.
At first their words made me quiver inside, the way I always do when I realize someone is angry with me again. I don't mean to cause trouble. But then I got mad at Brother and Sister Roberts.
For one thing, I am not a little girl. Mam died at Christmastime giving birth to my brother David. He also died. Since then I have kept house for my father, Daniel Edwards, a collier and pit carpenter.
For another, chess and gambling are not the same thing, although I may take up gambling one day just to irritate Brother and Sister Roberts.
Anyway, Brother Roberts is jealous of Brother Bowen, who was made president of our group yesterday in a general meeting of all seven hundred Mormons on board. (The rest of the passengers on the S. Curling are gentiles, meaning they are not Mormons.) We were divided into eleven groups, or wards, in which to conduct our worship and to help one another with cooking and cleaning on our voyage. Papa and I are in the Bowens' ward.
Sister Roberts gives a dry snort. She and Brother Roberts link arms and leave.
Dear God, I say in my head, please bless that the two of them will lose their footing and slip. Soon.
Brother Bowen cocks a bushy brow. "Your daughter seems to think she has me trapped, Daniel."
Papa smiles. Brother Bowen growls at me.
"You do not scare me, Brother Bowen," I say, taking another noisy bite of bread. "But then, you do not scare anybody."
"Our Charlotte speaks the truth, Husband." Sister Bowen rumples Brother Bowen's hair as if he is a clumsy puppy tumbling at her feet.
"Daniel, you really must teach your daughter to respect her elders," grumbles Brother Bowen. "Also, I would appreciate it if you would encourage her to chew with her mouth shut, especially when she is playing chess with me."
Papa and Sister Bowen and I whoop with laughter. And so do the seagulls, which spin like angels on white wings above us.
Brother Bowen makes his move.
And I make mine. "Check."
Ocean water shoots straight up from the sea and sprays everyone on this end of the deck. I blink. My hair is soaked and my clothes are plastered to my skin. The chess pieces crash to the floor and roll beneath our feet.
"Lordy!" says Sister Bowen as she shakes drops of water from her hands.
I look up and see the Bowens' son John grinning down from the top of Captain Curling's cabin, where he sits, lazily swinging his long legs, which are not at all wet. His hair stands straight up in the wind like a glossy black coxcomb.
His eyes catch mine, and he smirks at me.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Meet the Author
Ann Cannon is a newspaper columnist as well as the author of several books for young readers, including Cal Cameron by Day, Spider-Man by Night, the 1987 winner of the Delacorte Press Prize for a First Young Adult Novel, and Shadow Brothers and Amazing Gracie, both ALA Best Books for Young Adults.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I have read this book again and again and I still love it. Can you please write a sequal?
Charlotte's Rose is sooooo good. I want to read it again and again! When I first bought it, I thought 'I'm I really going to like this book?' But I bought it and I'm glad of it because I was so hooked on it! I love the story plot and everything else! A.E. Cannon...please, please write a sequel!
I recently read Charlotte's Rose for Virginia Young Readers. It was wonderful! Charlotte is a Mormon girl who immigrates to America with her father and other Mormon adaults and children. When a mothers dies giving birth to her baby girl, and her father rejects her, Charlotte volunteers to care for the baby. She names her Rose, and at first, Charlotte got very annoyed by her. She then came to realize the enjoyment that came with the responsiblity. It was a wonderful book, though I think it could have had a better ending... or a sequal!
I thought this was a great story with wonderful character development. It gave me a greater appreciation for the strength, dedication, and trials that the pioneers went through. Loved Charolotte!