From the Publisher
“The dialogue, plot, and strong characterization in this beautifully written historical novel will easily win readers' approval.” Booklist (starred review).
“A novel of exceptional power and grit. . . . The author has written so compellingly of a young person trying to beat the odds.” Kirkus Reviews (pointer review)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A motherless teenager falls in love with a draft-dodger in this historical romance set in a tiny Oklahoma town during WWI. Ages 12-up. (May)
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
It is 1918, in the hills of Oklahoma. Sixteen-year-old Hallie's mother dies, leaving her to care for five younger siblings. Hallie must learn to juggle mothering, cooking, housekeeping, and her own desire to better herself in an environment confused by the Great War. Hatred of both German-Americans and conscientious objectors figure in this story which also includes several instances of near-rape by the local lout. Hallie and her story have touching moments (reminiscent of Where Lilies Bloom), but there's an awful lot packed in here.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-Hallie Horton, 16, must deal with her grief at her mother's death while caring for her numerous siblings; her father seems unable to do anything except work in the fields of their Oklahoma farm. She finds unexpected comfort in her shotgun-toting neighbor, Mary, who reveals a sad and tender side as she shares secrets of her past. Hallie feels especially lonely when her older brother joins the army, and when her best friend's family must lay low because of increasing anti-German sentiment. When an army deserter saves her from the lecherous Gid, Mary's miscreant son, she makes a new friend who encourages her to dream of becoming a teacher. But when Gid decides to try and hang deserters and Germans and rape Hallie, mere survival becomes paramount. Reminiscent of Jean Thesman's The Ornament Tree (Houghton, 1996), this story set during World War I tells of a teen's struggle to determine where her responsibilities lie and whether it is right for a female to develop her talents. When injustice threatens, she appeals to other women to change the moral tides of their community. Although the villains are rather flat and their motivations not particularly clear, Myers does a masterful job with other characters. Crude Mary is appropriately colorful and lovable; the school master is hilarious in his "comeuppance"; and readers will identify with Hallie, a young person questing for a future. Above all, Myers has a perfect understanding of isolated rural life and the eccentricities that make it interesting.-Cindy Darling Codell, Clark Middle School, Winchester, KY