Just Jane: A Daughter of England Caught in the Struggle of the American Revolution

Just Jane: A Daughter of England Caught in the Struggle of the American Revolution

by William Lavender
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Romance, history, and warfare abound in this story set in South Carolina during the American Revolution.

At what price does indepenndence come? Lady Jane Prentice, orphaned daughter of an English earl, arrives in Charlestown, South Carolina, in 1776, and finds herself plunged into the middle of a heated war—a war not only between her former country and her… See more details below

Overview

Romance, history, and warfare abound in this story set in South Carolina during the American Revolution.

At what price does indepenndence come? Lady Jane Prentice, orphaned daughter of an English earl, arrives in Charlestown, South Carolina, in 1776, and finds herself plunged into the middle of a heated war—a war not only between her former country and her new home, but also between the members of her own family, whose loyalties are strongly divided in America's fight for freedom.

Torn by family responsibilities, the brutality of war, a secret romance, and her own growing need for independence, Jane is forced to adopt many roles, until she finds the courage to become the person she wants to be: just Jane.

Author Biography: William Lavender , acclaimed author of six novels for adults, lives in Riverside, California. Just Jane is his first novel for young readers.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Set in South Carolina during the American Revolution, this novel about an orphaned English girl of noble birth reverberates with the tension and turmoil of the period. Peopled with multilayered characters brought to life through Lavender's rich prose, this story will grasp and hold readers to the last page. The book, which spans six years of history, unfolds in 1776 as Lady Jane Prentice, 14, is sent to America to live with an uncle she has never met. She arrives just as passions concerning relations between the colonies and England are reaching a fever pitch. Her loyalties are torn between her Uncle Robert, a staunch loyalist, and her cousin Hugh, a patriot outspokenly in favor of independence. Shortly after she reaches South Carolina, she begins to attend school headed by schoolmaster Simon Cordwyn. The gradual intertwining of their lives becomes a pivotal focus of the tale. Both express pacifist sentiments as they are caught up in the conflict. This is historical fiction at its best, dovetailing vivid factual information with a riveting, beautifully written story. It dramatically details the horrors of war as it spotlights the devastating effect on families and close friends who wind up on opposite sides of an issue.-Renee Steinberg, Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher

"This story will grasp and hold readers to the last page . . . Historical fiction at its best."--School Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780152025878
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
09/28/2002
Series:
Great Episodes Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.75(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.75(d)
Lexile:
740L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt


Jane Prentice awoke with a start in the cramped, airless cabin that had been her world for forty-six days and nights. Always there was the endless motion, the creaking and rocking of the sailing ship surrounded only by ocean and horizon. A lantern, now dark, swung gently on a beam overhead, as Jane's elderly companion snored softly in the opposite bunk.

Suddenly from the crowded deck above, shouts rang out in the gray, cheerless dawn. Sailors starting their morning chores called to one another across the decks. According to the ship's rules, that meant Jane could go up, too. Shivering with a mixture of cold and excitement, she quickly dressed and ran up on deck to greet the new day. Maybe, Jane thought-as she had every morning for the last week-just maybe, this will be the day.
Her stout, gray-haired companion found Jane leaning over the railing on the bow, looking straight into the spray-filled wind. She was straining to see a sliver of land through the mist.

"Jane! Gracious, child, you'll catch your death-"

"Mrs. Morley, look!" Jane was too excited for a scolding. "Do you see? It's the Sea Islands, the lookout told me. Charlestown's* only three more hours' sail. That's South Carolina you're seeing-we're finally here!"

Squinting into the distance, Mrs. Morley could barely see a dark line low on the horizon. "Lord above! Can it be?"

"I wonder what it'll be like," Jane murmured.

"A backwoods outpost, I dare say." Her companion sniffed. "Like all the American colonies."

"That can't be. Uncle Robert and Cousin Hugh have lived here for years. And Uncle Robert wrote to us that Charlestown's quite as civilized as London, only smaller."

"Civilized, indeed! We'll be spending half of every year at Mr. Robert's farm, miles from town and surrounded by wild beasts and savages!"

"It's not a farm, it's a big plantation," Jane corrected her.

"Besides, there's all this talk of quarreling between the Americans and King George, our lawful ruler. It worries me."

But Jane's mind was on her uncle's plantation. "Rosewall!" She breathed the name as if enchanted. "Uncle Robert says it's a beautiful patch of England, transplanted to America. I'm sure it's lovely now, in June."

"A tangled wilderness, I'll warrant." Mrs. Morley was not to be influenced. She pulled her long overcoat tight against the chill, looking quite miserable.

Jane scowled. "If you already hate it, why did you come?"

"You know very well why," Mrs. Morley replied indignantly. "Because I've been your companion since your dear mother died so long ago, and because I promised your poor father. What a wasted life he led! Earl of Almesbury at thirty-three, and his fortune and estate lost to drink before he was forty! It was his dying wish that I remain with you."

"Well, I could have come alone," Jane replied, absentmindedly pulling at the small gold locket she always wore-and always tugged at when she felt nervous.

"A girl of fourteen sailing off alone to a strange land to live with an uncle she's never met? I think not!"

Jane gave her faithful companion a hug. "I'm glad you came, Mrs. Morley, but I want you to be glad, too. From his letters, Uncle Robert sounds wonderful, and I'm dying to meet Aunt Clarissa. He says she's very beautiful, and from a good Charlestown family. Her brother's a rich merchant and belongs to the South Carolina Assembly, or whatever it's called. And Cousin Hugh is-"

"A cabinetmaker!" Mrs. Morley scoffed at the mention of Robert's cousin Hugh Prentice. "Imagine! No more than a lowly woodworker, and him with all that schooling. All the Prentice boys had a fine education, you know. Their grandfather, Edward, the first Earl, saw to that. He'd turn over in his grave if he knew that after Hugh came to America, he tossed aside his books for a hammer and chisel!"

"I don't see why. Surely, woodworking's an honest occupation."

But Mrs. Morley had already turned to go back belowdecks. "I tell you this, my girl," she called over her shoulder, "we may be a long way from home, but I intend to remain English through and through till the day I die. These colonies can't change that. And stop pulling on that chain, dear. You'll break it for certain. You know I wasn't even supposed to let you have that locket until you turned eighteen."

"I know, and I keep telling you, I won't break it." Engraved with her parents' initials-EP to RP-Jane's beloved gold locket contained her only memento of her mother, the Countess Rachel, who had died when Jane was just three years old. Curled inside the heart-shaped locket was a wisp of chestnut brown hair. The locket, and a slim volume of poems that had belonged to her father, were the two treasures she had brought with her to America.

"And I know how you feel about England, Mrs. Morley. I feel the same way. I'm sure all our friends and kinsmen in America do, too. But you'll see-we'll have an exciting new life here, and I'm..."

Jane turned her gaze again to the mysterious horizon shrouded in morning mist.

I'm afraid, she thought.

Copyright © 2002 by William Lavender

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording,
or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department,
Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >