The Claim (Boston Jane Series #3)

The Claim (Boston Jane Series #3)

4.5 22
by Jennifer L. Holm

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Fans of Boston Jane: An Adventure and Boston Jane: Wilderness Days will revel in the rip-roaring adventure, romance, and humor of this spectacularly spirited and satisfying conclusion to New York Times bestselling and three-time Newbery Honor–winning author Jennifer L. Holm's acclaimed historical fiction trilogy.

Seventeen-year-oldSee more details below


Fans of Boston Jane: An Adventure and Boston Jane: Wilderness Days will revel in the rip-roaring adventure, romance, and humor of this spectacularly spirited and satisfying conclusion to New York Times bestselling and three-time Newbery Honor–winning author Jennifer L. Holm's acclaimed historical fiction trilogy.

Seventeen-year-old Jane Peck is the darling of Washington Territory—more at home in a primitive pioneer settlement in the rugged Northwest than she ever was in the refined world of Philadelphia society. She's outwitted wild animals, vengeful ghosts, and a disloyal fiance, but when her finishing school nemesis Sally Biddle invades Shoalwater Bay, Jane discovers that the most dangerous thing on the frontier might just be an impeccably dressed debutant. As the Biddles charm their way into her close-knit community, Jane finds everything she holds dear threatened—including her true love! Will Jane's claim on happiness slip away?

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Boston Jane: The Claim by Jennifer L. Holm, continues Jane's ongoing frontier adventures in the Pacific Northwest. Her world turns tumultuous when Sally Biddle, her debutante nemesis, arrives at Shoalwater Bay intent on destroying Jane's life. Moreover, Jane must contend with her ex-fiance's attempts to turn the settlers against the native Chinooks. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This is the third in a 19th century historical novel series about a young pioneer nicknamed "Boston Jane." Here 17-year-old Jane Peck must face two old nemeses that threaten her claim to happiness on the Northwestern Pacific Coast. Like a memelose (local Chinook Indian word for ghost) from Jane's East Coast past, Philadelphia Sally Biddle comes to live in the oyster town where Jane has finally settled in. Jane fought hard to support herself through an oyster business and as a concierge in the town's hotel. She also developed a circle of friends, including a loving boyfriend, Jehu Scudder. She is even about to claim a log cabin on property of her very own! But two-faced Sally spitefully undermines Jane's status. William Baldt, Jane's' former fiancé who jilted her to marry someone else, returns to the oyster town to take over by putting Chinook "savages" and women like Jane in their places. Jane's intelligence and Jehu's cleverness are a winning response to these threats. All is told in compelling historical detail in an 1850s Washington Territory setting. Acknowledgments, author's note, and a resource list indicate the research that went into the writing. The novel makes the reader want to read the other books in this series. The book is appropriate for a strong middle reader, while young adults especially should find the adventures of this independent young woman entertaining and educational. 2004, HarperCollinsPublishers, and Ages 10 up.
—Carol Raker Collins, Ph.D.
Jane Peck, Holm's independent heroine, returns in this third installment of the Boston Jane series. As one of Shoalwater Bay's established settlers, she watches the town's growth and notices the issues that accompany it: prejudice, crime, and tensions resulting from overcrowding. The simple bay life that Jane knows is rapidly disappearing, and elements of the young ladies' academy from the first book surface. Central to the story is the arrival of Jane's nemesis from Philadelphia, Sally Biddle, whose primary goal is to agitate Jane and destroy her relationship with Jehu. The introduction of "civilized" society to Shoalwater Bay changes the settlers' relationship with their Chinook neighbors and also challenges the freedom that women have enjoyed in the remote setting. The story is fast paced and lively, and Holm successfully campaigns for diversity and feminism without making her plot seem like a thinly disguised message. The weak points in this book are the pulp-romance style of Jane's unsure relationship with Jehu, and the simplistic revenge fantasy played out with Sally. Jane is a complex protagonist, and her fans deserve more substance than the book's brooding leading man and trite troublemaker provide. Still Holm sets the story up for another sequel, and readers will be glad to know that she has more plans for her likeable heroine. VOYA Codes: 3Q 5P M J (Readable without serious defects; Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2004, HarperCollins, 240p., and PLB Ages 11 to 15.
—Jenny Ingram
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-Fans of this series, set in Shoalwater Bay in Washington Territory in the 1850s, will find Jane, now 17, to be just as strong and admirable a character as ever. In this third installment, the frontier settlement has grown into a town and Jane works as a concierge in the hotel. Her old rival, Sally Biddle, disembarks ship and immediately takes every opportunity to embarrass and alienate Jane just as she had done back in Philadelphia. William Baldt, the man who asked Jane to marry him in the first book, is back and threatens to take her land. She surprises some community members when she speaks up for a wrongly accused Chinook who is charged with stealing whiskey, and she bravely rescues a child of Chinook and white heritage who is unfairly placed with an abusive foster parent. A touch of romance between Jane and Jehu, the sailor she met on her journey west, helps move the story to a satisfying conclusion. This glimpse into Northwestern pioneer life is based on primary and secondary sources, including Holm's own family history. Recommend this title to readers who enjoyed L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables and Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House on the Prairie" series (HarperCollins).-Jean Gaffney, Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library, Miamisburg, OH Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In the third installment of her trilogy about Boston Jane, Holm continues the drama of white settlers in the Washington Territory, some of whom embrace the Chinook way of life and many of whom disdain their so-called "savage" ways. This familiar conflict rears its ugly head when a child of a Chinook Indian mother and a white father who has died, is taken away from the mother to be raised by a white family. Additional aspects of settlement life include the coming of a dry-goods store, first elections, and fraudulent land schemes. Jane, who had uprooted herself from Philadelphia and found friendship and promise in this rough new community, now faces a new threat, not the physical danger of murderers and the frontier, but the supercilious and disdainful ways of Sally Biddle, her old Philadelphia nemesis. She is less successful in overcoming the proper Ms. Biddle and, in fact, needs the familiar plot device of a letter left lying about to achieve victory. That victory is a proposal of marriage from the handsome Jehu. While this is not as compelling as the previous two titles, Jane's fans will delight in the turn of events and celebrate with her. (Fiction. 10-14)

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Boston Jane Series , #3
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Boston Jane

The Claim
By Jennifer L. Holm


Copyright ©2005 Jennifer L. Holm
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0064408825

Chapter One


The Luckiest Girl

It was a sweet September day on the beach, much like the day I'd first sailed into Shoalwater Bay that April. The sun was skipping across the water, and the sky was a bright arc of blue racing to impossibly tall green trees. And for the first time since arriving on this wild stretch of wilderness, I felt lucky again.

You see, I had survived these many months in the company of rough men and Chinook Indians, not to mention a flea-ridden hound, and while it was true that my wardrobe had suffered greatly, one might say that my person had thrived. I had made friends. I had started an oyster business. I had survived endless calamity: six months of seasickness on the voyage from Philadelphia, a near-drowning, a fall from a cliff, and a smallpox outbreak. What was there to stop me now? Although a life on the rugged frontier of the Washington Territory was not recommended for a proper young lady of sixteen, especially in the absence of a suitable chaperone, I intended to try it.

After all, I did make the best pies on Shoalwater Bay. And striding up the beach toward me was a man who appreciated them.


He had the bluest eyes I had ever seen, bluer than the water ofthe bay behind him. A schooner, The Hetty, was anchored not far out, and it was the reason I had packed all my belongings and was standing beside my trunk. The same schooner had brought Jehu Scudder back to the bay after a prolonged absence. Indeed, when Jehu left, I had doubted that I would ever see him again.

"Jane," Jehu said gruffly, his thick black hair brushing his shoulders, his eyes glowing in his tanned face. I had last seen him nearly two months ago, at which time I had hurt his feelings, and sailor that he was, he had vowed to sail as far away as China to be rid of me.

"Jehu," I replied, nervously pushing a sticky tangle of red curls off my cheeks.

He shook his head. "You're looking well, Miss Peck."

"As are you, Mr. Scudder," I replied, my voice light.

We stood there for a moment just looking at each other, the soft bay air brushing between us like a ribbon. Without thinking, I took a step forward, toward him, until I was so close that I breathed the scent of the saltwater on his skin. And all at once I remembered that night, those stars, his cheek close to mine.

"Boston Jane! Boston Jane!" a small voice behind me cried.

Sootie, a Chinook girl who had become dear to me, came rushing down the beach, little legs pumping, her feet wet from the tide pool in which she had been playing. She was waving a particularly large clamshell at me, of the sort the Chinook children often fashioned into dolls.

"Look what I found!" she said, eyeing Jehu.

"Sootie," I said, smoothing back her thick black hair. "You remember Captain Scudder? He was the first mate on the Lady Luck, the ship that brought me here from Philadelphia."

Sootie clutched the skirts of my blue calico dress and hid behind them shyly, peeking out at Jehu with her bright brown eyes. Her mother, my friend Suis, had died in the summer smallpox outbreak, and since then Sootie had spent a great deal of time in my company.

Jehu crouched down next to her, admiring her find. "That's a real nice shell you have there."

She grinned flirtatiously at him, exposing a gap where one of her new front teeth was coming in.

Jehu grinned right back and squinted up at me from where he knelt. "I see you took my advice about wearing blue. Although I did like that Chinook skirt of yours," he teased, his Boston accent dry as a burr.

The cedar bark skirt in question, while very comfortable, had left my legs quite bare. "That skirt was hardly proper, Jehu," I rebuked him gently.

At this, his lips tightened and a shuttered look came across his face. The thick angry scar on his cheek twitched in a familiar way. He hunched his shoulders forward and stood up, deliberately looking somewhere over my shoulder. "Ah, yes, proper."

I bit my lip and stepped back. I had little doubt as to what was causing this sudden transformation. I had rejected his affections, as I had been engaged to another man.

"So tell me, how is your new husband?" he asked in a clipped voice.

"Jehu," I said quickly.

He turned from me and stared angrily out at the smooth bay. "If you'll excuse me, I've got supplies to deliver," he said tersely, and then he turned on his booted heel and strode quickly down the beach away from me.

I took a step forward, Sootie's arms tight around my legs. What was I to do? Miss Hepplewhite, my instructor at the Young Ladies Academy in Philadelphia, had a great number of opinions on the proper behavior of a young lady. I had discovered, however, that many of her careful instructions were sorely lacking when it came to surviving on the frontier. There was not much call for pouring tea or embroidering handkerchiefs in the wilds of Shoalwater Bay. And I certainly didn't recall any helpful hints on how to prevent the only man one had ever kissed from storming away for the second time in one's life. So I did something that I was sure would have shocked my old teacher.

I shouted.

"I didn't marry him!"

He froze and then turned back toward me, walking fast. He grabbed my shoulders and looked down into my eyes.

"You didn't?" Something indefinable flickered across his face.

"It seems that Mr. Baldt already had a wife."

Jehu slapped his thigh triumphantly. "I knew he was no good!"


Excerpted from Boston Jane by Jennifer L. Holm Copyright ©2005 by Jennifer L. Holm. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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