Farewell to the Islandby Gloria Whelan
The war of 1812 is over, and 16-year-old Mary O'Shea is leaving her home on the remote island of Mackinac to visit her married sister, Angelique, in England. When she arrives, the spunky American girl horrifies her sister's stuffy British in-laws with her independent waysespecially when she meets Lord James Lindsay. James shows Mary his worldand soon… See more details below
The war of 1812 is over, and 16-year-old Mary O'Shea is leaving her home on the remote island of Mackinac to visit her married sister, Angelique, in England. When she arrives, the spunky American girl horrifies her sister's stuffy British in-laws with her independent waysespecially when she meets Lord James Lindsay. James shows Mary his worldand soon he invites her to share it with him. And now Mary finds herself facing the most difficult decision of her life....
With masterful storytelling, accurate historical detail, and an ever-appealing protagonist, critically acclaimed author Gloria Whelan has written a satisfying sequel to her 1996 Great Lakes Book Award winner Once on This Island.
Gloria Whelan is a poet and the award-winning author of many books for young readers, including Homeless Bird winner of the National Book Award; Return To The Island; Once On This Island, winner of the Great Lakes Book Award; Farewell To The Island; and Miranda's Last Stand. She lives with her husband, Joseph, in the woods of northern Michigan.
- Thunder Bay Press MI
- Publication date:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.60(d)
- Age Range:
- 9 - 12 Years
Read an Excerpt
On the first day of May, a flimsy snow fell on our island of Michilimackinac. With the west winds blowing in from Lake Michigan, and the east winds blowing in from Lake Huron, we never knew what would fall from the sky. The violets my sister, Angelique, had transplanted from the woods to our garden poked up, making lavender and purple blotches in the snow. I thought of the violets we had scattered over her wedding cake the summer before, the summer of 1815, when she married her British soldier. Now Angelique was in England, thousands of miles away from our island farm and from Papa and me.
Angelique had married the enemy, for we had been at war with England when she fell in love with Daniel Cunningham. Papa, who had fought with the American army, had gritted his teeth at the horrible thought of an English son-in-law. It was only when he saw that Daniel did not have horns and a tail, and was very nice besides, that he gave his permission for the marriage.
Nine long months had passed since Angelique and Daniel had sailed for England. I knew Papa missed Angelique as much as I did, but he said I must stop moping and think of making my new sister welcome. I meant to do my best, but I was sure Little Cloud could never take Angelique's place. Little Cloud is the daughter of a Sauk chief, so I suppose she is a kind of princess. She and my brother had been engaged for a year. Fur traders like my brother, Jacques, often took Indian brides. The traders might live with the same tribe for many months of the year, and their Indian wives would teach them the language and customs of the tribe. But Jacques had told me that was not the only reason he wished to marryLittle Cloud. He confessed that he did indeed love her.
For myself, I had fits of puzzlement as to how I was to act with my princess sister-in-law. Of course she would be welcome, but our life here would surely be different from her life with her own tribe. Her tribe had thousands of acres of woods and water for their home. We have only an island so small that if you climb a hill you can see from one shore to the other. Jacques would be little help in making his new bride feel at home on our farm. I loved my brother dearly, but he was always rushing from one thing to the next with never a look over his shoulder. His heart was not in farming, but far in the west with the fur traders.
Papa and I first learned of Jacques and Little Cloud's coming only a week before from a trader who had stopped at Michilimackinac. He had seen my brother making his way across Lake Michigan. Jacques had asked the trader to bring us the news of his marriage and to tell us that he would be home the first week of May with his new wife. Papa had seemed pleased at the news. I believe he thought Jacques might settle down now that he was married. But I was not so sure.
Papa and I worked hard to get our small house ready for Jacques's return. Papa gave the walls of the cabin a new coat of whitewash. I laundered the blue-and-yellow calico curtains and beat the sand from the rugs, which had been braided by my mother. She had died sixteen years before, in 1800, the year I was born. Because I could not remember my mother, Angelique had been as much a mother to me as a sister, so I missed her twice as much.
With Angelique gone I was in charge of the house. Papa gave me what little money was needed to walk to the village store for flour or salt. When money was scarce, as it often was, the store took eggs or Belle's milk in trade. I managed the cooking and cleaning, the chickens and the milking. Papa took care of the hogs, cut wood, and did stonework for our neighbors on the island. We tended the crops together. I hoped Little Cloud liked housework and cooking, for I hated it. Instead I longed to be outdoors-in the woods tracking wolves, or running along the sandy shore of the island scaring up gulls or looking for eagles.
Yet, for all the work I had to do, I did not wish to be any place in the world but our island. For the three years that the British soldiers occupied our island-years when Papa was gone-I had kept our farm going. Our farm became more dear to me every day. I could not ask for anything better than to live there with Papa forever.
I had just rolled up my sleeves to make Papa's favorite potted hare from a pair of rabbits he had shot, when the door burst open. I felt myself caught up and swung around in a circle. "Jacques!" I cried. I threw my arms around my brother and hugged him until he begged to be free.
"Mary! Let me go! You are worse than a grizzly bear."
Jacques had grown to be taller than Papa. He was less like a sapling and more like a sturdy tree. "What is that thing on your upper lip?" I teased. "The scraggly tail of some animal, surely!"
"Never mind that. Just tell me how your hair could have gotten even redder. It looks like a stew of carrots."
When I could take my eyes from Jacques I saw Papa standing at the door, his arm around an Indian girl. Her long black hair hung in a thick braid over her shoulder. Her skin was golden and she had the kind of high cheekbones that my round face would never have. She wore a deerskin dress trimmed with fringe and embroidery. I thought her very beautiful. I believe Papa did too, for his face was full of happiness and pride. The last time I had seen so much pleasure on his face was on his return to the island last summer after his long absence. Then his smiles had all been for me, for taking such good care of the farm.
Angry with myself for my jealous thoughts, I went at once to embrace Little Cloud. She looked frightened, though, and drew away from me.
"Don't try one of your bear hugs on Little Cloud," Jacques said. "She isn't used to all that squeezing from strangers. If she could speak our language she would tell you it isn't dignified."
I spoke quickly to hide my hurt. "You've been traveling in this snow. Let me get you some warm tea to drink. I have your favorite honey cake, Jacques." In no time we were sitting around the table exchanging stories.
"Wait until you see the pelts we have brought back," Jacques said. "Bearskin, beaver, fisher, lynx, fox, wolf, otter, and mink. That's not even counting all the muskrat we speared after the Rock River froze up and we could get to their huts." I tried not to wince at the thought of Jacques's canoe piled high with the skins of little dead animals.Farewell to the Island. Copyright � by Gloria Whelan. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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This sequel is as good, if not better, then 'Once on this Island.' It picks up right where you left off and once again is full of hope, love, excitement, and humor. It is a wonderful read, told once again through the wise, warm eyes of Mary O'Shea. The characters are yet again fascinating and complex and lovable. (And all you matchmakers, don't worry TOO much about James, there is one more book in the series!)