Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Uncertain Glory

Uncertain Glory

5.0 1
by Lea Wait

See All Formats & Editions

Joe Wood has dreams. Big dreams. He wants to be a newspaperman, and though he’s only fourteen, he’s already borrowed money to start his own press. But it’s April, 1861, and a young nation is teetering on the brink of a civil war. As effects of war begin to spread over Joe’s hometown of Wiscasset, Maine, he must juggle his personal ambitions


Joe Wood has dreams. Big dreams. He wants to be a newspaperman, and though he’s only fourteen, he’s already borrowed money to start his own press. But it’s April, 1861, and a young nation is teetering on the brink of a civil war. As effects of war begin to spread over Joe’s hometown of Wiscasset, Maine, he must juggle his personal ambitions with some new responsibilities. He has to help Owen, his young assistant, deal with the challenges of being black in a white world torn apart by color. He needs to talk his best friend, Charlie, out of enlisting. He wants to help a young spiritualist, Nell, whose uncle claims she can speak to the dead. And when Owen disappears, it’s up to Joe to save him. Lea Wait skillfully draws on the lives of real people in Maine’s history to tell this story of three young adults touched by war and the tension it brings, forcing them into adulthood—before they may be ready.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this excellent historical coming-of-age novel set at the dawn of the American Civil War, 14-year-old Joe Wood struggles to keep his inherited newspaper, the Wiscassat Herald, afloat even as his Maine hometown is rocked by reports of war from down south. Joe has 13 days left to raise the money needed to pay his startup loans, and it’s looking grim until the onset of hostilities means there’s plenty of news to report. Meanwhile, he’s also investigating the legitimacy of a young spiritualist who’s holding sessions with the townsfolk and communicating with the dead. When friends, neighbors, and family are torn apart by conflicting loyalties and patriotism, Joe’s caught in the middle. It’s a lot of plot to pack into a somewhat slim story, but Wait (Finest Kind) skillfully weaves the strands together in a fast-paced and authentic tale. It’s a fascinating look at small-town life during a pivotal moment in American history, made all the more believable by Joe’s easy, affable narration and Wait’s drawing on actual people (including Joe) and events. Ages 10–14. Agent: Stephen Fraser, the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"This is a novel where the intervening centuries slip away, leaving prescience and promise with the overwhelming demands of now."–Celia McGee, The Center for Fiction

"A worthy and entertaining trip back through time."–Kirkus Reviews

VOYA, June 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 2) - Jennifer M. Miskec
It is April 9th, 1861, and Joe Wood is setting type for some broadsides he has been paid to produce. When Joe’s friend Charlie rushes in and recounts what he has heard at the telegraph office, Joe and Charlie know that they must put aside the broadsides and create an emergency bulletin of the Wiscasset Herald instead: “Confederates Demand Sumter Surrender,” the headline reads. In fact, it is mere days before the beginning of the Civil War, and as owner of the only printing press in his small Maine town, Joe Wood has an obligation to report the news, even if Joe is only fourteen-years-old. Added to the tension of trying to raise enough money to pay back the loan that allowed him to start the Wiscasset Herald, as well as the subplot of a famed spiritualist who has come to town (is she legit or is she a fraud?), this piece tells a fictionalized account of a real young man and his friend who published a newspaper and—in the case of Charlie—joined the Union army. Well researched and clear, this piece will appeal to historical fiction buffs, especially those who like a happy ending and a little light romance mixed in. Its likeable characters, straightforward plot, and easy dialogue make the piece entirely accessible and a good companion piece to Civil War history lessons. The documents—-broadsides, bulletins, and circulars—that bookend the novel set the tone of the historical moment by showcasing the appearance and language style of Civil War-era journalism. Reviewer: Jennifer M. Miskec; Ages 12 to 15.
Kirkus Reviews
Joe runs his own newspaper, quite an accomplishment for a 14-year-old, even in 1861. With the Civil War beginning and a young spiritualist in town, he's got lots to write about. In small Wiscasset, Maine, there's only one newspaper. Dispatches from Fort Sumter are being telegraphed north, enabling Joe to publish one special edition after another, thanks to the help of flighty friend Charlie and African-American assistant Owen. Getting these editions out is paramount, as the loan he used to start the business is coming due in days, and he hasn't got enough to pay it back. His frequent, worried accounting of pennies is surprisingly poignant. The young spiritualist Nell, in the unkind custody of her aunt and uncle, is also drawing local attention. Joe vacillates between supporting Charlie's desire to figure out her tricks and reveal them to the public and a growing sense that she does communicate with the dead. When Owen goes missing, her help may prove critical. Wait nicely captures the infrequently depicted Northern homefront of the Civil War, as well as the entrepreneurial drive that some teens shared when there were fewer age-based labor restrictions. Joe's homespun voice captures the full flavor of a smart and determined kid with his eyes firmly on the future, richly evoking time and place. A worthy and entertaining trip back through time. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Product Details

Islandport Press
Publication date:
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Sales rank:
File size:
2 MB

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Lea Wait lives on the coast of Maine, where she writes both historical novels for young adults and mysteries for adult readers. She is the author of four acclaimed young adult historical novels set in 19th century Maine. Lea grew up in Maine and New Jersey, graduated from Chatham College, earned graduate degrees from New York University, and worked for AT&T while she raised four adopted daughters. She is now the grandmother of eight and is married to artist Bob Thomas. Lea welcomes readers of all ages to friend her on Facebook, where she posts frequently about reading, writing, and living in Maine.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Uncertain Glory 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
readingwriterSS More than 1 year ago
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR TEENS AND ADULTS Lea Wait's Young Adult "Uncertain Glory" is a gripping novel set in Maine on the eve of Civil War hostilities.  Who knew that such a far-off New England state would be so affected by thoughts of a war between the states? Joe Wood is fourteen, and he owns a print shop. At least he will if he can make the last payment on it within 2 weeks. He is helped by his enthusiastic friend Charlie and 9-year-old Owen to put out a weekly newspaper and special  war bulletins. But there are complications. Charlie wants to join the Maine militia. Little Owen is black, and he disappears when he comes up against some frightening bigotry. Most exciting of all, a young girl, Nell, has come to Wiscasset with her unpleasant aunt and uncle. Nell is psychic--or isn't she? She gives people news from departed loved ones. Joe vows to find out what she really is. Then he's broadsided: his father has enlisted. Lea Wait uses the stories of some real-life people to give us an excellent look at tensions in 1860 far from the battle front. These young people will have to grow up before they want to in order to help their families.