Daughter of Winter

Overview

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 tragically the flux has ended the lives of her mother and baby brother, leaving Addie all alone. Fearful of being taken in as a servant, Addie flees from her house into the snowy woods, where she endures hunger and bitter cold until Nokummus, an elderly Wampanoag woman, coaxes Addie to her dwelling.

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Overview

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 tragically the flux has ended the lives of her mother and baby brother, leaving Addie all alone. Fearful of being taken in as a servant, Addie flees from her house into the snowy woods, where she endures hunger and bitter cold until Nokummus, an elderly Wampanoag woman, coaxes Addie to her dwelling.

Now living under the care of the mercurial old woman, Addie slowly recognizes the truth of her past. Through an intense ancient ceremony and by force of her own wits and will, Addie must come to grips with the facts of her newfound identity—and find the courage to build a future unlike any she could ever have imagined.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Danielle Williams
Addie's father does not worry about leaving her, her mother and little brother alone while he goes to seek his fortune in the gold fields, but he could not have realized that both Addie's mother and brother would fall ill and die, leaving Addie alone with no one to turn to. Addie is able to fool the concerned people in the town where she goes to school for a short time, but she realizes that she cannot hide the truth from them forever. Addie's biggest fear is being sent away from the home she hass always known and being lost from her father when he returns. She is determined to avoid that at all costs, even at the cost of hiding their deaths for as long as she can. What follows is an amazing and terrifying adventure that sets Addie on a road to discover more about her life than she could have ever imagined. Set in the small town of Essex, Massachusetts during the winter and spring of 1849-1850, Collins delivers a gripping tale of self-discovery. At times, Addie's story is terrifying and the reader wonders if Addie will make it through the next day, let alone the winter. But Addie's strength of character gives a hopeful edge to the story and even at Addie's darkest, most uncertain hour, there is enough hopeful resolve in the story that the reader is compelled to continue. Reviewer: Danielle Williams
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Addie has a secret: her mother and brother have recently died of the flux. With her father on his way to California to pan for gold, the 13-year-old is determined to survive on her own until he returns. Fearful that the townswomen of Essex, MA, will find out that she is living alone, she concocts a plan to live in the wilderness as her father taught her. But it is the dead of winter, and Addie soon finds that survival is more difficult than she could have imagined. When Nokummus, a local Wampanoag woman who lives nearby, comes to help her, Addie discovers that this woman knows more about her and her past than she could have imagined, changing her life forever. This is a beautifully written story with deep characters and a strong sense of place. While the author sometimes panders to stereotypes—Nokummus is viewed as a wise woman, fearful of what will happen to her relationship with Addie when the girl's father returns—she is mostly spot-on with characters and the setting. However, Addie's relationship with a local boy feels strained and makes the girl seem older than she is. For the most part, though, this quiet, haunting book will appeal to fans of historical fiction.—Necia Blundy, Marlborough Public Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Twelve-year-old Addie has a lot to deal with after her father leaves for the 1849 gold rush and then her mother and younger brother die of fever. She is both convinced her Massachusetts neighbors will not allow her to run the family farm alone and determined not to be boarded out to another family. In the middle of winter she flees, constructs a shelter and gamely lives off the land, awaiting her father's return. An elderly Wampanoag woman, Nokummus, provides much-needed aid and, eventually, shelter and companionship, as well as gradually revealing the secrets of Addie's past and the astonishing reason that she bore so little resemblance to her mother. While the setting is vividly portrayed, a surprising historical anachronism sneaks in: the appearance of a photograph printed on card stock (as opposed to a daguerreotype) taken before 1837—predating its invention by years. The narrative is at its strongest while Addie manages alone; her experiences with Nokummus sometimes push credibility and seem out of character for such an amazingly determined and strong-willed child. Still, history lovers will enjoy her adventures. (Historical fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781441889904
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 10/12/2010
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 1 MP3-CD, 6 hrs. 17 min.
  • Age range: 12 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Pat Lowery Collins is the author of Hidden Voices as well as many other acclaimed novels and picture books. She lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
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