Winter Shadows

Winter Shadows

4.0 1
by Margaret Buffie

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Cass feels the long winter shadows on her heart. Her mother died of cancer and her father has remarried a woman who has moved into their old Manitoba house with her nasty, babyish daughter and an attitude that's very hard to take. Christmas promises to be a miserable time.

More than a century earlier, Christmas is proving to be difficult for Beatrice, too, for… See more details below


Cass feels the long winter shadows on her heart. Her mother died of cancer and her father has remarried a woman who has moved into their old Manitoba house with her nasty, babyish daughter and an attitude that's very hard to take. Christmas promises to be a miserable time.

More than a century earlier, Christmas is proving to be difficult for Beatrice, too, for she has shadows of her own. Some are cast by her circumstances. She sees the growing prejudice against people like her who are of mixed Cree and Scottish backgrounds. And like Cass, she has a stepmother. Her father's new wife is threatened by Beatrice and is driving a wedge into the family. Beatrice can only be sure of her beloved Cree grandmother, relegated to a room upstairs. When a way of escape presents itself to Beatrice by way of an eligible bachelor, she is torn by the choice it offers her. Should she settle for a man she doesn't love or address the problems at home? Through her journal, she explores the answer and, at the same time, inspires Cass to find the strength she needs to face her own situation. Margaret Buffie's great skill as a storyteller creates a splendid, engaging novel that offers readers a rich combination of fine history, suspenseful shifts in time, and unforgettable characters.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"... a breathtaking novel that is part realism, part time-travel fantasy, and part coming of age tale."
"... The alternating narratives are gripping.... Readers will be pulled in by the searing history of bigotry as well as the universals of famiy conflict, love, and friendship."
Children's Literature - Kathie M. Josephs
This historical fiction is powerful and gets the reader hooked by just reading the book jacket. I could hardly wait to read the entire story and it was wonderful! The story begins with Cass arguing with her stepmother who refuses to call her Cass instead of Cassandra and is always making her apologize to or play with Daisy her step-sister. Not only that, but her stepmother is slowing removing all of her Mother's things and is driving a wedge between Cass and her father. Cass was dreading the approaching Christmas season. Five generations earlier there was another girl by the name of Beatrice who felt much like Cass and lived in the same house. Cass finds a brooch that had belonged to Beatrice and now she sees an apparition. Cass must find out if the apparition is in her mind or is it real. This is a fast moving book and will hold the reader's interest from the first to the last page. The characters in the book will stay with you for a long time. They are believable and express strong emotions. The history and time shifts are done amazingly well. Reviewer: Kathie M. Josephs
VOYA - Sara Martin
Still reeling from her mother's death, Cass attempts to cope as her new stepmother and stepsister take over her home and begin removing all signs of her mother's presence. While Cass lives in modern times, Beatrice, in nineteenth-century rural Manitoba, returns home from Upper Canada to help care for her injured father and her Cree grandmother who has been horribly neglected by her father's new wife. Like Cass, Beatrice is finding living with her new stepmother, Ivy, unbearable. To make matters worse, Ivy's grown son, Duncan, teases her mercilessly, even while helping her stand up to his mother. Although the two girls live more than a century apart, Beatrice and Cass are drawn together when they start mysteriously appearing in each other's lives. Readers will immediately be hooked by these parallel stories: within the first page, Beatrice, driving a horse-drawn sleigh through the Canadian wilderness, witnesses a school bus suddenly appear and then vanish into thin air. Each girl is struggling with similar issues, but Buffie deftly portrays two vastly different time periods. Cree phrases lend an air of authenticity to Beatrice's voice, but decoding the unfamiliar text with help from the glossary at the back of the novel may deter some readers. Fans of historical fiction will appreciate the descriptions of life in a previous century, while readers who prefer stories with a dash of the paranormal will not be disappointed. This genre-blending tale will be a welcome addition to any library serving middle school or younger teen readers. Reviewer: Sara Martin
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Two young women living in the same house but separated by time are struggling with similar difficulties when they begin seeing one another in visions. Cass is a modern-day teen grieving over her mother's death and clashing with her new stepmother. In 1856, Beatrice is struggling with her own nasty stepmother, who is not only jealous of her father's affection, but also holds Beatrice's Cree ancestry against her. Both girls are grappling with depression and have fathers who are ineffectually dealing with the conflict in their households. At first, the teens fear they are losing their minds when they see the other but they form a bond based on Beatrice's diary entries that Cass is able to read. Learning about each other's lives helps these girls cope with their own situations and begin to understand if not like, their stepmothers. Told in alternating chapters, the story is slow to start, but the well-drawn characters will eventually capture readers' attention. The details of daily life and racial politics in 1856 Manitoba, Canada, add weight to the story and the chaste romance between Beatrice and her two suitors will further draw in fans of historical fiction.—Caroline Tesauro, Radford Public Library, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Two Manitoba girls meet across a 150-year divide. Each is grieving her mother's untimely death and struggling to adjust to new and difficult family dynamics. Contemporary Cass must share a room with her whiny stepsister while her new stepmother remodels their home to eliminate all traces of Cass's mother. Back in 1856, residing in the same house, Beatrice, who is English Métis (with Scottish and First Nations ancestry), strives to make a life for herself while shielding her Swampy Cree grandmother from her harsh Scottish stepmother's neglect. When Cass discovers a brooch that belonged to Beatrice, each becomes increasingly aware of the other, offering support and understanding missing at home. Should Beatrice choose her refined missionary suitor over her stepmother's effervescent, unpredictable son? Can Cass find a way to heal her fractured home life? Buffie's characters and the conflicts they face are deeply engaging, more than compensating for the well-worn time-travel plot device. Of special interest is the rare portrait of a multiracial community when informal marriages among British and First Nations people were common. (glossaries, author's note) (Historical fantasy. 11 & up)

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Product Details

Publication date:
Sold by:
Random House
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
10 Years

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