Hearts of Stone

Hearts of Stone

by Kathleen Ernst

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101119310
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 10/19/2006
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 1,207,573
File size: 244 KB
Age Range: 10 Years

About the Author

Kathleen Ernst is an award-winning author, educator and social historian. She has published fifteen novels and one nonfiction book, including her bestselling American Girl mystery, Danger at the Zoo, which was an Agatha Award finalist in the category of best children’s/young adult mystery. She took an interpreter job at Old World Wisconsin and later worked as a Curator of Interpretation and Collections at the historical site.

Read an Excerpt

I patted the mule. Until Jasper grew big enough to help, I’d tended Star. “It’s a fit chore for you, Hannah,” Papa had said more than once. “You’re as stubborn as the mule.” But he always smiled when he said it.

“Are you up to the trip, Star?” I whispered. Poor girl. Her sides were furrowed as a new-plowed field. “You can get us to Nashville, can’t you?” I scratched her between the ears, then took stock. Jasper’d come back with the bucket. The cart was packed. Mary and Maude stood waiting. Everything was ready.

My chest began to ache. “I forgot something,” I said.

Jasper snorted. “Hannah – ”

“Just hush up and wait!”

Back inside I touched the marks my fingers had made in the clay and straw chinked between the logs when we’d had to repair damage done by mice and bees and rain. I set Mama’s rocking chair to motion and so I could hear it creak. I trailed my hand over the oak table Papa had hewn, and toed the crack between the puncheons where Jasper always dropped his string beans through for the chickens. Jasper didn’t much care for string beans.

“I can’t protect the hearth, Mama,” I whispered. I tried to pry the flowered china piece free of the chimney, but it stuck fast. I polished it with my apron instead.

Then my gaze lit on the family Bible, kept on its own little table near the fireplace. Like the wedding ring, it came across the ocean with my papa’s family many years before. The huge book had a tooled-leather cover that was surely the envy of Preacher Peabody. Inside were special pages where generations of Camerons had written down births and weddings and deaths. That faded, spidery writing was all that was left of their lives. The Bible rested on a square scrap of plaid wool, dark green and blue with thin yellow stripes, which had come across the ocean with Mama’s parents.

I carried the Bible and the tartan cloth outside, wrapped them in a quilt, and stowed in the cart. “Now we’re ready,” I said, putting a hand on Star to steady myself.

“Hannah?” Jasper chewed his lip. “What happens if we can’t find Aunt Ellen in Nashville?”

“Well…we’ll come back here. We can always go to the neighbors if need truly be.”

“But what will happen here?”

I drew a deep breath. “Nothing, I hope. We own this land, legal. There are papers in Knoxville to prove it. When the war’s over we’ll come back and start again.”

I took a last look around. The ash hopper beside the big boiling kettle was full, waiting for Mama to fire up a batch of laundry. The big iron hoisting hook still hung in the walnut tree by the pig pen, waiting for Papa to haul up a butchered pig to dress out. Corn was coming up in the field and the garden needed tending and a pile of ginseng waited on the porch. Two fresh ‘coon skins were nailed on the front wall to dry.

And Mama’s grave still fresh and bare.

I finally pried my gaze away and planted myself in the road. I folded my arms, staring west. “You look just like Pa,” Jasper said.

That shored me up some. “I’ll get us to Nashville,” I promised. “Let’s get going.”

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Ernst’s memorable tale demonstrates in vivid detail how wars affect women and children…. The prose is lively, the action dramatic. [R]eaders will be hooked from the start." —Kirkus Reviews

Customer Reviews

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Hearts of Stone 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
MrsHillReads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a great read...Civil War story, destitute family under terrible circumstances being held together by the oldest sister (who isn't very old), terrible living conditions...makes Gone With the Wind look like a good-time book! I guess I had never thought about the refuge camps during Civil War time. I really liked the main character who was trying to do the right thing even though it wasn't always possible.
hezann73 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for a Civil War story that does NOT deal with a young soldier, or the Underground Railroad, Hearts of Stone by Kathleen Ernst may be the book for you. Hannah Cameron is 15 and lives in East Tennessee with her Ma and Pa, brother and younger twin sisters. When their father is killed fighting in the Union army and their Ma dies suddenly, it's up to Hannah to keep the family together. She does this by packing them up and walking to Nashville in search of their aunt. Getting to Nashville is hard and surviving there is even harder and Hannah doesn't know how long she'll be able to keep her little family going.The Good: The author addresses the fact that nobody (or army) is all good or all bad, that they are just people. Hannah is a likable heroine and you can feel the fierce love she has for her family.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was one of the best books ive ever read.the characters seemed real,not sappy or overly dramatic.i highly reccomend this book :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago