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The Family Greene

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Overview

Cornelia Greene is fed up with gossip about her mother. Caty Littlefield Greene was once a beautiful young bride who lifted the troops’ spirits at Valley Forge, but Cornelia knows that rumors of Caty’s past indiscretions hurt Nathanael Greene, Cornelia’s adored father. Yet Caty claims that she’s just a flirt, and that flirting is a female necessity—a woman’s only means of power.

     Cornelia’s concern with her mother’s reputation abruptly fades to the background when she learns that Nathanael...

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The Family Greene

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Overview

Cornelia Greene is fed up with gossip about her mother. Caty Littlefield Greene was once a beautiful young bride who lifted the troops’ spirits at Valley Forge, but Cornelia knows that rumors of Caty’s past indiscretions hurt Nathanael Greene, Cornelia’s adored father. Yet Caty claims that she’s just a flirt, and that flirting is a female necessity—a woman’s only means of power.

     Cornelia’s concern with her mother’s reputation abruptly fades to the background when she learns that Nathanael Greene may not be her father. As she searches for the truth, she makes unexpected discoveries that lead her to a new understanding of love and family.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Jennifer Rummel
During political turmoil, a mother and daughter both attempt to find their place in the world. They struggle to understand the powers of female persuasion. As a young woman, Caty moves in with her aunt and uncle to become a properly educated young lady. There, she's confronted with the art of flirting. Confused, she struggles to understand and eventually learns the art of flirting from her aunt. She believes that flirting, if used properly, can empower women. Years later, her daughter Cornelia struggles to understand her mother's actions. Do women have a secret power? The Family Greene chronicles two different time periods within the same family. The first eighty pages focus on Caty and her life as a young girl until the time of her first pregnancy. The remainder of the book shifts perspective to her daughter Cornelia. Both women struggle with the same question. Rinaldi pens the tale prior to and after the American Revolution, skipping most of the war itself. There are some flashbacks to the Revolutionary War camp where Caty and her husband lived; however, most of the book revolves around family life, and the power women possess, while also briefly touching upon the issue of slavery and the education of women. Reviewer: Jennifer Rummel
Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
Rinaldi is that most rare of treasures—a reliable author. No matter how many books she writes, she has the gift for entwining historical fact with fiction and making it come out engaging and entertaining. In this book, Rinaldi takes the family of Revolutionary War hero, Nathanael Greene, and creates a story of family dysfunction and romantic entanglements worthy of a contemporary soap opera. Readers will enjoy every page. Beginning with Nathanael's wife, Caty Littlefield, the author weaves a tale of beautiful women who use their sexuality to gain power over men. Learning lessons of "flirting" from her mother, Caty sees nothing wrong with having numerous affairs with men as different as "Mad" Anthony Wayne and her children's schoolmaster. Only when servant gossip reveals that Caty's daughter, Cornelia, may have a different father do her children understand the depth of their mother's deception. Rinaldi directly confronts the issue of how someone like Greene, northern born and Quaker raised, eschewed his roots to become a slaveholder from economic necessity. (He funded the troops at Valley Forge with his own fortune and the Continental Congress had yet to pay him back, but the gift of plantation land in the south returned him to solvency). Secrets are what this family is about, and they are the currency that enables older sister, Martha, to control Cornelia who is the most fully formed character: ethical, spunky, courageous, and curious. There are both historical and familial lessons to be learned from this story, and the Saga of the family Greene makes this dose of history, spanning from the Colonial period to the frontier wars of western expansion, go down smoothly. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Rinaldi once again takes readers to a historical time and place where strong female protagonists convincingly navigate their circumstances. Beginning in 1764 with Catherine Littlefield's formative years and her courtship and marriage to Nathanael Greene, readers experience life in colonial America on the eve of the American Revolution. Then Caty's daughter Cornelia takes over the narration, describing her life with her family on a plantation in Georgia. The theme of conflict, be it of the political, moral, familial, or gender variety, runs through this novel, and readers primarily experience it through Cornelia's eyes. Her manipulative, blackmailing older sister has told her that Pa is not her father, that Anthony Wayne is, and throughout the story Cornelia tries to learn the truth. Her reactions to her often-tenuous home environment and the weight of wondering who her biological father is demonstrate the strength of her character. In contrast, Caty's character fails under the pressure of her circumstances. The relationships Cornelia has with her brother George and with General Anthony Wayne, two of the few likable characters in the novel, provide a respite from the tumult in her life and for readers. However, the ambiguous ending, even if expected, is likely to leave readers dissatisfied.—Hilary Writt, Sullivan University, Lexington, KY
From the Publisher
"Rinaldi once again takes readers to a historical time and place where strong female protagonists convincingly navigate their circumstances."—School Library Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547260679
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 5/24/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 710L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

ANN RINALDI is an award-winning author best known for bringing history vividly to life. A self-made writer and newspaper columnist for twenty-one years, Ms. Rinaldi attributes her interest in history to her son, who enlisted her to take part in historical reenactments up and down the East Coast. She lives with her husband in central New Jersey. Visit her online at www.annrinaldi.com .

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for TeensReadToo.com

    A mother and daughter attempt to find their place in the world and both women struggle with the same issue - the powers of female persuasion.

    As a young woman, Caty moves in with her aunt and uncle to become a properly educated young lady. Her aunt displays the art of flirting. Confused, at first Caty dislikes flirting, but as she comes to understand its powers, she herself employs the art.

    Years later, her own daughter questions the same issue when she sees Caty flirting. Will Cornelia begin to understand the powers of flirting and how it can empower women?

    THE FAMILY GREENE portrays family life before and after the American Revolution, focusing on the women of the family while also briefly touching upon the issues of slavery and the education of women.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2014

    cool stuff



    cool stuff

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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