Hold My Hand and Run

Hold My Hand and Run

by Margaret McAllister

When the beatings she receives from cruel Aunt Latimer get worse, Kazy decides to run away from home and take her little sister, Beth, with her. Although the country roads of seventeenth-century England are full of obvious and hidden dangers for two young girls, she has no choice—Beth has become a frightened shadow of her lively self. Kazy is determined to save…  See more details below


When the beatings she receives from cruel Aunt Latimer get worse, Kazy decides to run away from home and take her little sister, Beth, with her. Although the country roads of seventeenth-century England are full of obvious and hidden dangers for two young girls, she has no choice—Beth has become a frightened shadow of her lively self. Kazy is determined to save her. The girls travel for a time with seemingly kind tinkers who soon betray them in exchange for reward money. Quick-thinking Kazy has the courage to keep going, but when Beth becomes seriously ill, Kazy faces disaster. She is desperate to do the right thing. But once you've run away, it's impossible to go back...isn't it?

Margaret McAllister has created a thrilling tale that combines the suspense of The Perilous Gard with the kind of historical adventure loved by readers of The Midwife's Apprentice. Filled with narrow escapes, hardships, and discomforts, this book also celebrates the joy of independence, the unexpected kindness of strangers, and the deep satisfaction that comes from relying on oneself.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Children will find in this picaresque novel, two spunky girls living out a fast-paced chase story. Thirteen-year-old Kezia (pronounced Kez-EYE-a), called Kazy, knows that the beatings from her Aunt Latimer (surely one of the meanest caretakers in recent fiction) have caused six-year-old Beth's stammer and nightmares, so she takes Beth and runs away, laying a false trail worthy of the Fugitive to fool her clergyman father and the men he sends to search for them. English author McAllister's research took her from Northumberland to the Durham Cathedral to discover the authentic 1600s' details that will rivet 21st century readers. Both genders will enjoy Kazy and Beth's narrow (but not too scary) escapes. If the adult reader wonders at times whether the mind-set of the 17th century girls isn't too much like that of contemporary pre-teens, such a scruple will be unlikely to bother those who read the story. Besides, the mature theme, that a perfect place like Collywell Cross (where the girls find refuge and Kazy faces up to the truth) is no substitute for even a seriously imperfect home, redeems whatever mistakes there may be in mindset and presents an economical ending that aims readers toward a larger empathy and understanding. 2000, Dutton Children's Books, $15.99. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Nancy Tilly
VOYA - Voya Reviews
Months of beatings and abuse from Aunt Latimer have transformed six-year-old Beth from a happy little girl into a stuttering and clumsy child. Her half sister, thirteen-year-old Kazy, cannot stand the situation any longer. After a final attempt to talk with her widowed father fails, she and Beth run away from home. Surviving, let alone prospering, by themselves is nearly as difficult in seventeenth-century England as it would be today. Kazy and Beth meet a wide range of people during their journey from one small village to the next, including suspicious relatives, self-interested tinkers, an impoverished clergyman, and hard-working serving folk. Protecting herself and Beth from the dangers of the road and from discovery as runaways teaches Kazy a great deal. The near loss of Beth finally provides the epiphany Kazy needs to seek help instead of just escape. She takes her sister to Collywell Cross and asks the friendly Fairlamb family to help her do what is best. McAllister attempts to explain Kazy's unexpectedly modern rebellion against godly and parental authority in the novel by gifting her with an atypical education, and this strategy is largely successful. Many small details of life in the late Renaissance are woven into the story, but with the appealing Kazy as a guide, readers will be likely to find the novelties of the period accessible. The simple plotting and thoughtful attention to detail make this book a good introduction to historical fiction for middle grade readers. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2000, Dutton, Ages 12 to 14, 160p, $15.99. Reviewer: Megan Isaac
Thirteen-year-old Kezia begins this suspenseful novel by vowing that her little half-sister Elizabeth will never be beaten again. The sisters experience many travels, dangers, people, and places in the attempt to be safe. Set in 17th Century England, this story details the trials of daily life over 400 years ago. However, the girl's concerns will resonate with today's young people. Their challenge is to escape their evil aunt who is taking care of them because their depressed father is too busy and too sad over the death of his two wives to do it himself. She is so evil, she is reminiscent of the "baddies" in a Roald Dahl novel. All the minor characters are interesting too. At one point, Kezia finds herself in charge of an old woman that has lost many of her mental abilities, but the author still manages to make this character realistic and likeable. This novel is fast-paced, adventurous, and informative. Genre: Historical Fiction 1999, Dutton Children's Books, 150p
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Abused and beaten by their villainous aunt, 13-year-old Kazy and her young half-sister Beth run away. Since the recent death of Beth's mother, Eliza, their father has been too distracted by his work and loss to notice how his sister mistreats his daughters. The desperate girls trod through the countryside of England in 1628, staying at a cottage, a parsonage, and eventually living with a madwoman whom Kazy agrees to care for in exchange for food and shelter. A fire forces them to leave, and they travel to Collywell Cross, "a healing place" of love and prayer where Eliza once worked. Kazy's conversations with the refuge's kind mistress about God and life's injustices are somewhat didactic, and some of the characters, especially the girls' aunt and father, tend to be one-dimensional. However, the informed descriptions of the 17th-century setting-including smells, clothing, and furnishings-are fascinating. Overall, this is a readable historical novel set in a period not frequently explored.-Debbie Stewart, Grand Rapids Public Library, MI Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Childrens Book Watch
Kazy decides to run away from home with her little sister when Aunt Latimer's beatings become too much; their lives become a long journey in escape of their aunt in this story of 1600s girls who try to survive in England away from home. The protagonists are involving and the plot has several surprising twists and turns.
—Childrens Book Watch
Kirkus Reviews
Thirteen-year-old Kazy finds her aunt Latimer's beatings harsh indeed, but what she cannot abide is when the victim is her small stepsister, Beth. The aunt has taken over after the death of Beth's mother, Eliza, and she is a harsh change from that carefree spirit. Their father, a canon in 17th-century England, is too lost in grief over the loss of both young wives to see the cruelty his sister inflicts on the girls. Thus begins a great adventure. Kazy runs away with Beth, and manages to keep them alive, outwit tinkers, elude those who search for them, and finally find a place with relations of Eliza's that Kazy had only vaguely known existed. While the whole is rather romanticized and the ending terribly neat, Kazy's passion in protecting and defending her sister is fully realized and vividly rendered. There's enough historical detail to place the tale firmly in a far-away, but compelling past, and the adventure will attract readers who enjoy stories of resourceful girls who triumph over adversity. (Fiction. 9-14)

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Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.75(d)
790L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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