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

Overview

When Lady Jane, orphaned daughter of an English earl, arrives in Charlestown, South Carolina, in 1776, she finds herself in the middle of a heated war—a war not only between her former country and her new home but one between the members of her own family, whose loyalties are strongly divided in America's fight for freedom. Torn by family feuds, the war, a secret romance, and her own growing need for independence, Jane struggles for the courage...

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

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Overview

When Lady Jane, orphaned daughter of an English earl, arrives in Charlestown, South Carolina, in 1776, she finds herself in the middle of a heated war—a war not only between her former country and her new home but one between the members of her own family, whose loyalties are strongly divided in America's fight for freedom. Torn by family feuds, the war, a secret romance, and her own growing need for independence, Jane struggles for the courage to become the person she wants to be: just Jane.
Includes a reader's guide.

Fourteen-year-old Jane Prentice, orphaned daughter of an English earl, arrives in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1776 to find her family and her loyalties divided over the question of American independence.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This story will grasp and hold readers to the last page . . . Historical fiction at its best."—School Library Journal
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152054724
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 5/1/2005
  • Series: Great Episodes Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 548,608
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 4.42 (w) x 6.98 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

WILLIAM LAVENDER received a bachelor of music degree from the Birmingham Conservatory and Birmingham Southern College in Alabama, and a master of music degree from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Just Jane is his first novel for young readers. Mr. Lavender lives in Riverside, California.

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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.

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First Chapter

Chapter 1
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.
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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2009

    Wow

    This is one of the best books I've ever read and it is way under rated. This book is fantastic! Read it NOW!

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

    Posted September 27, 2007

    This book is an all time favorite!

    Just Jane is about a girl who move from England to the United States right before the American Revolution. The war of the countries isn't what's bothering her, it's the fact that there is also a war between her own family, and a war for her hand in marrige. It's well written, the plot is great, and it's something I'll read again and again. It is truly a masterpiece!

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

    Posted October 7, 2007

    A Must read!!!

    Just Jane is a beautiful historical novel for young adults, and is one of my favorite books. Taking place in the Revolutionary War, young Jane Prentice struggles to find her true identity in the midst of this turmoil. Filled with action, suspense, love, and sorrow, Just Jane is a lovely tale of following one's heart. Read it, you won't regret it!

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

    Posted May 1, 2007

    AMAZING!!!!!!!!

    This is an amazing story filled with war,peace, love, emotions, and killing. But this story is mostly about a girl and love.

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

    Posted March 27, 2007

    A reviewer

    All is to be explained with these three 'I' phrases...Jane Prentice, a young British noblewoman, is torn between her loyalty to the crown, and her strong desire for the freedom that the Patriots of South Carolina desire (and later aquire). As for her heart, the only person who gains her affections is her most devoted Schoolmaster.

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

    Posted March 7, 2007

    Jane sounds just like me!

    Stuck between multiple relationship choices. Just kidding, but not really. Otherwise, I was utterly inspired by her thinking abilities. I am glad she ended up with _ _ _ _ _.

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

    Posted January 21, 2007

    Wonderful Love Story of the Revolution!

    Jane is a blooming English rose at the beginning of this book, having just entered the awkward stage before womanhood. She is however more stressed as she is a Lady of the English court. As the story unfolds you are amazed at how lovely and witty this young woman becomes. As her former homeland and her dear new home, America wage wars, she also battles her heart her instincts, and her sanity to be with the man she loves.

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

    Posted January 20, 2007

    Outstanding

    I really enjoyed this book. It was exciting and fun. However I hated the fact that they killed Brandon. He was my favorite charater.

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

    Posted August 7, 2006

    ~Elise~ - an american revolution book freak!!!

    Just Jane was the best book i have ever read!!! i think Brandon Ainsley sounds HOTT!!!!!! lol I was so mad when brandon died but I'm glad Jane ended up with Simon!!! Instead of the army captain!!!

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

    Posted November 6, 2005

    Fantastic!

    I LOVED this book~!! Jane is a very real character, though Simon is my favorite. This book is full of action as well as romance! Lots of gun fights! Very exciting and stays true to history-One of the best historic fic novels ever written! Props to William Lavender!

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

    Posted June 29, 2005

    GREATEST BOOK EVER!!!

    Jane is just your average British girl living in America. Wrong! there is no way she's average Jane! She's living through the war and having to untangle many quarrels with others and even herself in the book! Many guys are there to court her but they concern her not. She has to fight strong for what she is in America but in the end she has to face the ultimate question. Is she still loyal to the crown or loyal to her new home in America? A tory or a patriot? I absolutely loved this book so much! i couldn't put it down until i was finished with it in the wee hours of the morning! Seriously! i loved the fact that there was adventure, history, and LOVE all rolled up together into this one book! I suggest this book to many people out there! BUY IT NOW!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2003

    One Of The Best Books Ever

    This is just a great book. There is everything you could want, action, war, romance, love triangles, and a great female lead. This book made me laugh and cry all at the same time. Great for teen-age girls who like historical fiction and historical romance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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