Return to the Island

Return to the Island

5.0 3
by Gloria Whelan

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Is Mary home for good?

It is the spring of 1818 and Mary O'Shea has returned from England to her beloved Mackinac Island. She loves her life on the family firm and knows that she chose wisely in declining a marriage proposal from James Lindsay, a young duke she met during her travels. She is also delighted to once again spend time with

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Is Mary home for good?

It is the spring of 1818 and Mary O'Shea has returned from England to her beloved Mackinac Island. She loves her life on the family firm and knows that she chose wisely in declining a marriage proposal from James Lindsay, a young duke she met during her travels. She is also delighted to once again spend time with White Hawk, her dearest friend. And although he is often called away to defend Indian claims to native lands, Mary cherishes White Hawk's visits, and hopes that one day he will stay forever. Then suddenly Mary's future comes into question when James appears at her doorstep to ask for her hand -- and refuses to leave until she consents. Now it seems that the only way for Mary to discover what her future holds is to uncover the truth of her own heart.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
With the war of 1812 and Papa's death behind her, Mary O'Shea can get on with her life and the decisions that befall her. In this sequel to Once on This Island and Farewell to the Island, Gloria Whelan colorfully paints the serenity that Mary has found in her return from visiting her sister, Angelique, and an attractive suitor, James, in London. James makes a surprise visit to Michilimackinac Island to induce Mary to return with him. Drama abounds, as Mary's heart is torn between the formal, wealthy, elegant James, and her lifelong friend, White Hawk, an Ottawa Indian who was rescued as a child by a white family after his parents had drowned in a storm. Events leading to Mary's predictable decision are adventuresome and sometimes amusing—as when Mary, James and White Hawk outfox wouldbe thieves in one chapter. Camaraderie and congeniality among the Island inhabitants is a pleasant contrast to the stereotypical relations often portrayed in literature about this era and culture. Whelan's development of Mary throughout the "Island" series serves as an inspiration and encouragement to young women readers and challenges them to enlarge their horizons as they approach complex decisions in their own lives. 2000, HarperCollins Publishers, Ages 9 to 13, $14.95 and $14.89. Reviewer: Elizabeth Young
To quote the review of the hardcover edition in KLIATT, September 2000: Of course, if you have the first two volumes of this trilogy, you'll want to complete the story with this third book. It's set after the War of 1812, on an island in the Great Lakes with French, Indian, and Anglo citizens. The main character is Mary, who has returned to the family farm after a visit to London where a roving aristocrat proposed marriage. Mary wants to keep the farm going after her father dies, and she does so, with her brother's help and with the help of her childhood friend White Hawk. The aristocrat, James, comes for an extended visit, hoping to persuade Mary to return to England with him; she is more and more aware that she loves White Hawk. Readers of the trilogy will be satisfied with this ending to the story. (Sequel to Once on This Island and Farewell to the Island).. KLIATT Codes: J�Recommended for junior high school students. 2000, HarperTrophy, 185p.,
— Claire Rosser
This final chapter in the trilogy that began with Once on This Island (HarperCollins, 1995/VOYA February 1996) and Farewell to the Island (1998) finds Mary O'Shea alone on her beautiful Mackinac Island, trying to hold the farm together after the death of her father. The first book in this charming series took place during the War of 1812; the second followed Mary as she traveled across the Atlantic to visit her sister in London. In the conclusion to the series, Mary must discover the inner strength that will bring her independence while learning to follow her heart as two suitors pursue her. Both are good men who earnestly love her. Mary's journey of self-discovery and her unyielding passion for the island lead her to understand that she truly has but one choice. Whelan has woven a tight story that teen girls will love. Although a romance novel, there is enough adventure and history to keep it from becoming formulaic or trite. The reader is given sufficient detail from the first two books to understand the background here, but the experience will be far richer if readers have read the earlier books. Whelan excels at character development and sense of place. Her obvious love for Mackinac Island and the Great Lakes region permeates the entire trilogy, and Mary O'Shea is an appealing heroine with intelligence, heart, and spirit. Readers will enjoy following Mary's adventures and escapades, and they will find themselves hoping for another series about Mary. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2000, HarperCollins, 185p, . Ages 12 to 15.Reviewer: Leslie Carter SOURCE: VOYA, April 2001 (Vol. 24, No.1)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Whelan writes a convincing third novel in her series about a young woman who lived during the early 1800s on an island between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Mary returns to Michilimackinac after a visit to her sister in England. The beauty of an island she knows intimately; the strong roots of the family farm; and the bond she shares with a special friend, White Hawk, are all reasons for her excitement about returning home. To her disappointment, his commitment to his tribe at L'Arbre Croche leaves him little time to spend with her. The plot gets most interesting when a suitor Mary met in her travels comes to the island with the hope of winning her heart; readers are kept wondering if the adventurous young woman will choose to stay home with a Native leader or return to England to marry the son of a duchess. Throughout, the author deftly integrates history into the novel. This book stands on its own as small hints are dropped throughout the story about events that took place in the earlier titles.-Carrie Lynn Cooper, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This third installment in Whelan's Island Trilogy portrays 19th-century daily living and the tension between the Native Americans and white settlers. Picking up where Farewell to the Island left off, Mary is running the family farm without her father, now deceased. Two men in Mary's life strive for her attention. James, who has pursued her from England, still wishes for her hand, while her childhood friend, White Hawk, shows his affection in a more steadfast way. White Hawk divides his time between helping Mary on the farm and assisting his tribe. There is great tension between the Sauk Indian tribe and the American Fur Co., whose proprietors, though they brought commerce to the island of Michilimackinac, use unsavory means to monopolize trapping. As winter takes hold, White Hawk finds he must return to his people; starvation is imminent and he must help them find an alternative to selling their land to white men. It is Mary who conceives of the plan that brings food to the Indians. James eventually finds his true love elsewhere, and Mary and White Hawk wed. Mary opens the first school for girls while White Hawk continues to assist his people. Mary's romance with White Hawk comes off lukewarm, and the narrative never has much momentum. Still, for Mary's fans and those wishing to gain a unique insight into this short but devastating time in Native American history, this is a worthwhile read. (Fiction. 10-12)Wilbur, Richard THE PIG IN THE SPIGOT Illus. by J. Otto Seibold Harcourt Brace (48 pp.) Oct. 2000

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
1 ED
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.73(d)
870L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 13 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Our island of Michilimackinac had never been more alive. White-winged schooners flew in and out of the harbor. Fishermen set their nets at dawn and were back at twilight with their catch. The heartbeat of the Indian drums sounded day and night. A thousand Indians were crowded onto our shores. I could make out the Ottawa teepees, and those of the Ojibwa, and the Potawatomi. The smoke from their campfires rose and mingled with the low clouds that hung over Michilimackinac. Many of the Indians were there to receive a yearly payment in exchange for having given their land to our government. But some of them were still loyal to the British. Each spring they camped here on their way to Canada, where the British kept their friendship with generous gifts. In the fall, on their way home, the same Indians would stop on the island once again, proudly showing off jackets of fine British broadcloth and arms ringed round with gifts of silver.

The voyageurs were arriving from the east, their bateaux loaded with trade goods, their red caps and sashes bright as a cardinal's feather, their French songs drowning out the cries of the gulls. Day after day the brigades of traders returned to the island with stories of lands farther north than Superior and farther west than the great Mississippi. Their pelts were weighed and baled, put on cargo canoes, and sent down Lake Huron and across Lake Erie to Buffalo. From Buffalo the furs traveled by wagon to Albany, then once again by boat down the Hudson to New York and then across the sea. It was a journey I had made myself only two years before when I had visited my sister, Angelique, in London.

Beyond thecrowded, noisy town, the rest ofMackinac Island was unchanged. The waves still argued with the rocky shore. Forests of spruce and cedar huddled together to shut out the sunlight. The rackety eagles' nest that White Hawk had discovered in the crown of a tall pine was still there.

From my perch at the edge of our farm I looked out at Lake Michigan to the west and Lake Huron to the east. In the sun their waters shone like endless bolts of blue and green silk.

It was here that we had buried Papa. The lilac bush I had planted beside his grave was bursting into bloom. Papa, who had slipped away in the autumn with no more fuss or struggle than the gentle falling of a leaf, lay beside Mama. Their gravestones read: Annette Duclouis O'Shea, born Beauvais, France, June 1774, died Michilimackinac, March 1800. Matthew O'Shea, born County Wicklow, Ireland, April 1768, died Michilimackinac, November 1817. Mama had to flee France because her family had supported the French king, while Papa had to escape from Ireland because his family had opposed the English king. Now my sister, Angelique, was married to a British man, Daniel Cunningham, and living in England with him and their nine-month-old son, Matthew. The only family I had on the island was my brother, Jacques, his wife, Little Cloud, and their son, Renard.

Before she had married and left the island Angelique had planted primroses and lilies of the valley around Mama's grave. These May flowers were blooming now, the primroses in bright yellow and purple, the lilies of the valley sending up their fragrance. Mama had died the year I was born. All I had of her was a box of her recipes and her silver cross. I had sent Angelique the miniature portrait of Mama that Papa carried always. Papa had been everything to me. He had left me the farm when he died. All winter long the farm had been asleep. Now, with the spring planting, I hardly knew which way to turn, and I certainly had no business dawdling about and thinking idle thoughts.

The idle thoughts were swept away when Little Cloud came running toward me, long braids flying, Renard's cradleboard bouncing on her back. �Come quick, Mary! Jacques and Mr. Astor's bad man! They are killing one another!�

Together we flew down the path to the village, slipping on the sand and tearing our skirts on the briars. Shouts were coming from Market Street. We ran past the row of whitewashed houses, safe behind their picket fences. There in front of the American Fur Company office I was horrified to see my brother, Jacques, rolling around in the dust of the street with Mr. Brandson. There was no killing. The two men were hanging on to one another so tightly they hardly knew whose body to pound. The door of the office swung open, and two clerks ran out. While Little Cloud and I tugged at Jacques, the clerks pulled at Mr. Brandson. Little Cloud and I landed on our bottoms with Jacques on top of us, while Mr. Brandson was caged in the arms of the clerks.

�Jacques! What can you be thinking of to brawl in the streets like some ruffian!� In my anger and shame I felt tears stinging my eyes.

�You'll never be a fur trader again!� Mr. Brandson shouted. �I'll see no company ever buys another pelt from you.� His hands were doubled into fists. Since Mr. Astor had put this large, loud man in command of the American Fur Company, Mr. Brandson had strutted about town like the only rooster in the yard. But now, as I watched him brush the dust from his clothes and head for the office, my shame dissolved.

I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. Though he tried to look dignified, he was limping along on one shoe, and a rip in the back of his trousers revealed a large patch of flannel drawers.

Jacques had to have the last word. He called out, �You're a thief and a bully, Brandson!�

Half the town had gathered to witness the fight. From the corner of my eye I saw a shocked-looking Mrs. West and her daughter Elizabeth. Her other daughter, Emma, was hurrying toward us. �Mary, you and Little Cloud and the baby must come and tidy up.� She brushed the dust from my skirt and put Renard's cradleboard to rights on Little Cloud's back...

Return 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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Meet the Author

Gloria Whelan is the bestselling author of many novels for young readers, including Homeless Bird, winner of the National Book Award, and Listening for Lions. She lives in northern Michigan.

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Return to the Island 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a stunning conclusion to a beautifully written series of books. Compared to the other two books, 'Return to the Island' does not disappoint. The story, though it involves more romance than its earlier counterparts, doesn't lack complex issues or the heartwarming ideals of family and community characteristic of Whelan's writing. This book will touch your heart and challenge you, and also give Mary the happy ending readers know she deserves!
Guest More than 1 year ago
5 stars to all of Gloria Whelans books! I read the whole series. I prejudged Once on this Island, But once On this Island Is unbelivable!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mary O'Shea, twelve years old when this trilogy began in Once on This Island, is now eighteen in this, the final book of her story. After her journey to England to visit her sister, she has returned home to Mackinac Island in the Great Lakes. She is followed by her wealthy English suitor James, who vows not to leave the island until Mary agrees to marry him. But Mary couldn't bear the thought of leaving her beloved island home forever to move to England. And her feelings for her childhood friend White Hawk, an Indian boy raised by a childless white couple, have become romantic. But she isn't sure that White Hawk returns her feelings. The novel follows several months in Mary's life on the island and is a fascinating peek at life on the frontier just after the war of 1812.