By Caroline Rose
Random House, January 2012
About the Book
May is helping out on a neighbor’s Kansas prairie homestead—just until Christmas, says Pa. She wants to contribute, but it’s hard to be separated from her family by 15 long, unfamiliar miles.
Then the unthinkable happens: May is abandoned. Trapped in a tiny snow-covered sod house, isolated from family and neighbors, May must prepare for the oncoming winter. While she fights to survive, May’s memories of her struggles with reading at school come back to haunt her. But she’s determined to find her way home again.
Caroline Starr Rose’s fast-paced novel, written in beautiful and riveting verse, gives readers a strong new heroine to love.
I won’t go.
“It’s for the best,” Ma says,
yanking to braid my hair,
trying to make something of what’s left.
Ma and Pa wanted me to leave
and live with strangers.
I won’t go.
Mavis Elizabeth Betterly is May B., the heroine of Caroline Rose’s historical verse novel. The novel is set in pioneer times in Kansas. Our young, oh-so-lovable heroine is being forced by her parents to leave home. She’s being hired out to a newlywed couple.
A settler has married an Eastern woman who knows absolutely nothing about keeping house. Nothing. May B. will sleep in a corner of the cabin and try to be as invisible as possible all the while doing all the work inside and outside the house, cooking, cleaning, and doing all the womanly tasks of the nineteenth century. The wife is not friendly to May B. at all. The truth of the matter is that she is miserable and regretting the decision to marry every minute of every hour of every day. She hates her life, and she is so full of hating and bitterness that she can’t be grateful to May B. or appreciate how much work this young girl does.
If all went according to plan, her father would pick May B. up around Christmas time. Just a handful of months—August to December—to live with strangers and do her share for her family. But all does not go according to plan. For something happens that changes everything. And May B. will have to depend on herself in ways she couldn’t have predicted in the summer.
I definitely loved this one. While not every reader will find pioneer stories equally appealing, this one is just oh-so-good! For historical fiction fans, this one may just be a must read. I found the heroine to be so lovable. I felt for her almost from the very start. Her narrative voice was very strong. Some of these poems were just amazing!
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