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Brooklyn Rose
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Brooklyn Rose

4.1 16
by Ann Rinaldi

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It's 1900--the dawn of a new century--and never in her wildest dreams did fifteen-year-old Rose Frampton ever think she'd leave her family and home on the peaceful shores of her island plantation in South Carolina . . . especially not to live with a new husband in the land of the Yankees.

But she is doing just that. Rose's new life with her handsome and wealthy


It's 1900--the dawn of a new century--and never in her wildest dreams did fifteen-year-old Rose Frampton ever think she'd leave her family and home on the peaceful shores of her island plantation in South Carolina . . . especially not to live with a new husband in the land of the Yankees.

But she is doing just that. Rose's new life with her handsome and wealthy husband in Brooklyn, New York, is both scary and exciting. As mistress of the large Victorian estate on Dorchester Road, she must learn to make decisions, establish her independence, and run an efficient household. These tasks are difficult enough without the added complication of barely knowing her husband. As romance blossoms and Rose begins to find her place, she discovers that strength of character does not come easily but is essential for happiness.

Writing in diary form, Ann Rinaldi paints a sensual picture of time and place--and gives readers an intimate glimpse into the heart of a child as she becomes a woman.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Rinaldi describes the teen's first year of marriage with grace, tact, and sensitivity."--School Library Journal

"Fans of romance will be swept up."--Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly
PW called this tale based on the author's grandmother, whose father's financial difficulties pressured her into marrying a wealthy businessman at age 15, "a well-paced, lighter offering" for Rinaldi fans. Ages 10-up. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Rose's sister Heppi is marrying for love, an oddity in North Carolina in 1900. Rose resolves that if she ever marries it, too, will be a marriage of love and not an arranged one. Then Mr. Demarest, a rich silk merchant from New York comes to town. He is charming and handsome and seems to take a special interest in Rose. But at 15 years old, Rose has no interest in marriage, particularly to someone twice her age. However, because she feels it is what her family wants, and believing it is the only way to save them from financial ruin, Rose agrees to marry him. What she never bargains for is that as much as she tries to resist, Rose slowly falls in love with her husband. This book, told in diary format and loosely-based on the lives of the author's grandparents, is a fascinating turn-of-the-century story of family, love, coming of age, and finding one's place in the world. Just as Rose is becoming comfortable with who she is and what her role in life should be, however, the book ends. An additional one or two chapters would be needed to wrap up the story and bring it to a satisfying conclusion. 2005, Harcourt Children's Books, Ages 10 up.
—Pat Trattles
Rinaldi offers a dawn of the twentieth-century historical fiction and coming-of-age novel as fifteen-year-old Rose Frampton leaves her childhood home on a South Carolina island plantation for a daunting new life as the wife of a Yankee businessman. But would the dashing Rene Dumarest have won her heart had he not held the mortgage on her father's land? Young Rose finds herself in Brooklyn, mistress of a large Victorian estate and wife of a wealthy and much older gentleman, struggling to grow into her new and challenging roles. As she learns to make household decisions, manage servants, and acquaint herself with the customs of her new world, she finds romance blooming as well in her marriage. But when Rene's mother visits, Rose questions whether her new independence and confidence has been an illusion after all. Written in journal form, Rose's story moves from a hesitant, childish tone to reflect the thoughts and feelings of a young woman just learning to become perceptive and introspective. The dedication and author's note make clear that Rose and Rene's story is a fictional re-imagining of Rinaldi's grandparents' lives, and it will prove popular with Rinaldi fans. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P J S (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Harcourt, 240p., $17. Ages 12 to 18.
—Mary Arnold
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, November 2004: Rinaldi is known for her ability to bring historic times to life and in this novel she turns her attention to a fictional recreation of her own grandparents' story. Fifteen-year-old Rose Frampton has grown up in Beaufort County, South Carolina, where her family's plantation was spared Sherman's "March to the Sea" but not the financial impact of the Civil War. On her birthday she is given a journal in which she records her life in Beaufort, her sister's beaus, and her own coming-of-age. She writes about her days on the plantation, the daily work of maintaining the house, the schoolmates who gossip about financial matters, and the arrival of Rene Dumarest, the man who notices her from across the room. Rene is a dashing young silk merchant from New York who asks to marry Rose and bring her to his new home in New York City. After a near tragedy, Rose realizes her affection for Rene and agrees to the marriage. Once married, the two arrive in New York where Rose begins her role as "Mistress of Dorchester." She also is introduced to social organizations and the plight of the immigrant. When Rene's mother arrives, Rose must learn to stand up for herself and truly be the household matron she has been training to be. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, Harcourt, 224p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Janis Flint-Ferguson
Kirkus Reviews
Fifteen-year-old Rose, the younger daughter of a South Carolina plantation owner, marries a handsome, very rich silk merchant out of a sense of obligation to her struggling family. Rene, much older and more sophisticated than his child bride, is kind, loving, and supportive through Rose's first forays into New York life. It's a sweet idea, but the story lacks focus, consistency, believable characterization, and credibility. Rinaldi has never lived in the South, or she would know that people on the Gullah islands don't get ice skates for Christmas. Someone should have caught that electric refrigerators weren't invented in 1900. The journal format works very much against it: Rose's voice sounds too old, and entries such as, "a steamer arrived from San Francisco and there are forty-one deaths from the Plague on it," are straight out of the Google center for historical research. And the plot-does Rose love him?-isn't even interesting. An author's note explains that this is Rinaldi's imagined version of the early marriage of her maternal grandparents, whom she never knew. Sometimes Rinaldi hits the mark; here she falls short. (Fiction. 10-15)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.50(w) x 7.00(h) x (d)
710L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

December 16, 1899

MY BIRTHDAY. Why does one feel so special on her birthday, as if something is about to happen? I received many lovely presents, including this gilt-edged journal book from Daddy. The pages are creamy white and just waiting for my words. They even smell nice, as if they are scented. I'm so excited about it. More excited than I am over the new Gibson Girl shirtwaist Mama gave me or the hair ribbons from my sister.

I'm writing in my new journal this very moment. What shall I say? What could possibly be good enough about my silly old dull life to put down in here?

It is a cold, drizzly day with rain. Some workers are ginning cotton and others are killing the last of the beef. Daddy sold a pair of turkeys to old Mrs. Lewis for a dollar and fifty cents. Oh, this is all so ordinary! But Mama says everything is worth setting down, that someday my granddaughter may read this. Ho! Me with a granddaughter! Imagine!

Here is something worth noting. The Gullah people who live and work around here believe that when you die your soul goes to God but your spirit stays on earth and takes part in all the activities of your people. I like that part of their belief. If I died of a sudden, I'd like my spirit to stay here.

Well, I'm not dying, at least I don't plan to yet, but Daddy talks constantly these days about sending me to school in the North, where I would get a proper American education.

Imagine that! Yankee land. And his own uncle Sumner killed at Chancellorsville!

"North is the only place you have chances," Daddy says. "The chances are all done around here."

Chances for what? I want to ask. But I know he'd say, "To marry the right person." He wants me to wed somebody with money. "Even though that person is a Yankee?" I'd ask. To which he'd say, "The only ones who have money are the Yankees."

This family has had such a problem with money since the war ended thirty-five years ago.

I know one thing. I'm not ever going north. I'm staying right here on Saint Helena's Island. Why, Daddy was only able to buy the house back the year I was born. I know he spent most of his money restoring it to what it was before the war and hasn't got much to dower me with. But I've only just turned fifteen, and he's doing well with the cotton and the horses. We have the best horse farm in the county. And how could I leave here, anyway?

I know another thing, too. If I ever do go away, I'm going to leave my spirit here to help my family. Like the Gullah people do when they die.


MAYBE I OUGHT to get things down right, if I'm going to keep this as a proper journal. The house I sit in, the very room I sit in, is on Saint Helena's Island, off the coast of South Carolina. I'm so used to this place I think everyone should know of it. Certainly they should, upon second thought. Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone lived in a house made of a strong tabby foundation with a double piazza held up by great pillars and a front yard that sloped down to the water? If everyone could hear the wind in the palmetto trees and taste the sand in their mouths when the wind blew? And what about the tides that flow toward land twice each day, then back out again?

To say nothing of the wild ducks and the swampy lands and the cypress trees, the longleaf pine. And the sea oats on the sand dunes that keep the sand from being washed away.

This house I sit in was built years ago by my great-grandfather. My grandparents lost it when General Sherman came through and burned a lot of the homes around here. The white owners were driven away. But General Sherman left this house and a few others standing so the Negroes could live in them and work the land. Then Yankee agents went from plantation to plantation and took the cotton and shipped it north.

My Grandfather Frampton had to go to work as a teacher in the Freedman's School here on the island because he was so destitute after the war. I recollect Grandmother Frampton telling us, before she died, how he looked of a morning when he would get ready to go to work, this wonderful gentleman who'd once been rich and owned dozens of slaves. How she'd hear him early in the morning in the kitchen, getting his own lunch pail ready and moving about quietly. How she couldn't get up to help him for fear of embarrassing him. And how he'd go off, day after day, like a common workingman to earn his living. They were living in a log cabin on the island then, even though this house was still standing. He made sixty dollars a month. Grandmother Frampton couldn't abide seeing him so demeaned, so she started making pies. Not sweet potato and pecan like they do hereabouts, but fruit and cream like they do up north, since that was where she came from. And soon they had to hire people to help her because the pies sold so fast. She made a fortune, so Grandfather didn't have to teach anymore. And that fortune they left to Daddy, who was able to buy this place back for the family. I'm so proud of him for doing that.

Now my daddy grows his cotton again. And breeds his horses. Right now we have thirteen mares and two stallions, and five two-year-olds to be broken to the saddle and bridle before they get shipped to Lexington for the horse auctions.

The pie business is sold. And we're well-off. But still Daddy wants me to go north to school. We have relatives in Connecticut, from Grandmother's connections.

Oh, sometimes the future frightens me so much, I don't want to grow up. I want to be a young girl forever. But I do have opinions. We were brought up in this family to have opinions, but Mama says a proper young lady shouldn't voice hers too loudly or her husband will think her forward and brash. And so I am forward and brash. My husband will just have to abide that in me.

Copyright © 2005 by Ann Rinaldi

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.

Meet the Author

ANN RINALDI is an award-winning author best known for bringing history vividly to life. She lives in central New Jersey.

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Brooklyn Rose 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great starting point to explore Rinaldi's novels. The beginning gets quickly to the point (which isn't true for some other Rinaldi books). I enjoyed watching Rose both mature and regress as she was faced with marrying an older man. Both of the settings were great, the South Carolina Lowcountry and Brooklyn, New York. It is very sad to think of girls getting shipped off at a young age to take the burden off of the family, but it was surprising how this awkward relationship turned into a romance. The ending was on the abrupt side, although I could see the lesson that Rinaldi meant to teach us. It was nice to see that Rose stayed true to herself even when she was forced to grow up so quickly, the emotions in her journal were very genuine. What made the story all the more interesting was that it was mostly true (based on Rinaldi's grandmother). It's amazing that Rinaldi turned a grandmother that she never got to know into a protagonist of a novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ann Rinaldi is by far one of my most favorite authors and I absolutely adore her books. This novel is perfect for maybe a short trip in the car or if you have a couple of hours on hand. It's short but not to short, and an easy read. I agree, the ending was weak but all together it was original (with her own family history as inspiration) and all-together wonderful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
$10 for it 92 pages but totally worth it
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was exelent! i would highly recomend it to anyone as a silent reading book it was a good relaxing book. Ann Rinaldi is an exelent author and i will continue to read her works.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am probably the biggest Ann Rinaldi fan that exists. I've read more than thirty of her books and loved them all...EXCEPT this one! It didn't really have a plot and it was hard to relate to any of the secondary characters because they weren't developed. I just had higher expectations I guess.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is a great book about love growing. I read this book for an hour and finished it. it is amazing and a great read! any one would enjoy it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in middle school and I loved it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this book because it tells romance in a way even 9 year olds can understand. It is beautifully written and rich in description. I particularly didn't like the ending, because the last line was really pathetic. Since it's the end, I can't tell you what it is but besides that, I highly recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was okay, but no a significant '100%' Ann Rinaldi. The way she progressed into the relatrionship seemed realistic, and it pointed out that not ALL Southerners were racist, b/c she puts down a couple of racist women. The character is 'Rose'. This is a good book, but had a TERRIBLE ending, because you read the last sentence and it was like 'Okay, where is the next chapter'? Also, at the end she seemed unnaturally childish and immature, contradicting her ordinary character. Ann Rinaldi portrayed how most of the women married (she thoguht her Father was poor and this would help, so she married Rene).I'd reccomend it, but if you want to read good books by the author: Girl In Blue, A Ride Into the Morning, The Diary of Sarah Revere, and Or Give Me Death.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you like the heavier, dramatic, and sometimes sad books that Ann Rinaldi has wrote before this, then don't read it. But if you want a nice, fresh change, I recommend strongly you read this. At times I found myself checking this was really by Rinaldi. I love her books, and this book only made me appreciate her more. It may not be the most complicated, intricate story, but it was fun and romantic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rose is a realistic character and very powerful when she moves to New York, but there was something missing. Her voice seemed too old for a 15 year old. The character of her husbund was a little hard to belive and there were somethings that just did not make sense. The fact that is was baised off real events was the thing that made it worth reading. Overall it was an interestng story.