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.
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.
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.
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: JSRecommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, Harcourt, 224p., Ages 12 to 18.
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)
"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