Boston Jane: The Claim by Jennifer L. Holm, continues Jane's ongoing frontier adventures in the Pacific Northwest. Her world turns tumultuous when Sally Biddle, her debutante nemesis, arrives at Shoalwater Bay intent on destroying Jane's life. Moreover, Jane must contend with her ex-fiance's attempts to turn the settlers against the native Chinooks. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
This is the third in a 19th century historical novel series about a young pioneer nicknamed "Boston Jane." Here 17-year-old Jane Peck must face two old nemeses that threaten her claim to happiness on the Northwestern Pacific Coast. Like a memelose (local Chinook Indian word for ghost) from Jane's East Coast past, Philadelphia Sally Biddle comes to live in the oyster town where Jane has finally settled in. Jane fought hard to support herself through an oyster business and as a concierge in the town's hotel. She also developed a circle of friends, including a loving boyfriend, Jehu Scudder. She is even about to claim a log cabin on property of her very own! But two-faced Sally spitefully undermines Jane's status. William Baldt, Jane's' former fiancé who jilted her to marry someone else, returns to the oyster town to take over by putting Chinook "savages" and women like Jane in their places. Jane's intelligence and Jehu's cleverness are a winning response to these threats. All is told in compelling historical detail in an 1850s Washington Territory setting. Acknowledgments, author's note, and a resource list indicate the research that went into the writing. The novel makes the reader want to read the other books in this series. The book is appropriate for a strong middle reader, while young adults especially should find the adventures of this independent young woman entertaining and educational. 2004, HarperCollinsPublishers, and Ages 10 up.
Carol Raker Collins, Ph.D.
Jane Peck, Holm's independent heroine, returns in this third installment of the Boston Jane series. As one of Shoalwater Bay's established settlers, she watches the town's growth and notices the issues that accompany it: prejudice, crime, and tensions resulting from overcrowding. The simple bay life that Jane knows is rapidly disappearing, and elements of the young ladies' academy from the first book surface. Central to the story is the arrival of Jane's nemesis from Philadelphia, Sally Biddle, whose primary goal is to agitate Jane and destroy her relationship with Jehu. The introduction of "civilized" society to Shoalwater Bay changes the settlers' relationship with their Chinook neighbors and also challenges the freedom that women have enjoyed in the remote setting. The story is fast paced and lively, and Holm successfully campaigns for diversity and feminism without making her plot seem like a thinly disguised message. The weak points in this book are the pulp-romance style of Jane's unsure relationship with Jehu, and the simplistic revenge fantasy played out with Sally. Jane is a complex protagonist, and her fans deserve more substance than the book's brooding leading man and trite troublemaker provide. Still Holm sets the story up for another sequel, and readers will be glad to know that she has more plans for her likeable heroine. VOYA Codes: 3Q 5P M J (Readable without serious defects; Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2004, HarperCollins, 240p., and PLB Ages 11 to 15.
Gr 6 Up-Fans of this series, set in Shoalwater Bay in Washington Territory in the 1850s, will find Jane, now 17, to be just as strong and admirable a character as ever. In this third installment, the frontier settlement has grown into a town and Jane works as a concierge in the hotel. Her old rival, Sally Biddle, disembarks ship and immediately takes every opportunity to embarrass and alienate Jane just as she had done back in Philadelphia. William Baldt, the man who asked Jane to marry him in the first book, is back and threatens to take her land. She surprises some community members when she speaks up for a wrongly accused Chinook who is charged with stealing whiskey, and she bravely rescues a child of Chinook and white heritage who is unfairly placed with an abusive foster parent. A touch of romance between Jane and Jehu, the sailor she met on her journey west, helps move the story to a satisfying conclusion. This glimpse into Northwestern pioneer life is based on primary and secondary sources, including Holm's own family history. Recommend this title to readers who enjoyed L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables and Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House on the Prairie" series (HarperCollins).-Jean Gaffney, Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library, Miamisburg, OH Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
In the third installment of her trilogy about Boston Jane, Holm continues the drama of white settlers in the Washington Territory, some of whom embrace the Chinook way of life and many of whom disdain their so-called "savage" ways. This familiar conflict rears its ugly head when a child of a Chinook Indian mother and a white father who has died, is taken away from the mother to be raised by a white family. Additional aspects of settlement life include the coming of a dry-goods store, first elections, and fraudulent land schemes. Jane, who had uprooted herself from Philadelphia and found friendship and promise in this rough new community, now faces a new threat, not the physical danger of murderers and the frontier, but the supercilious and disdainful ways of Sally Biddle, her old Philadelphia nemesis. She is less successful in overcoming the proper Ms. Biddle and, in fact, needs the familiar plot device of a letter left lying about to achieve victory. That victory is a proposal of marriage from the handsome Jehu. While this is not as compelling as the previous two titles, Jane's fans will delight in the turn of events and celebrate with her. (Fiction. 10-14)