Books by Ann R. Blakeslee

SUMMER BATTLES by Ann R. Blakeslee
Released: April 1, 2000

In the summer of 1926, 11-year-old Kath spends three weeks in Peaceable, Indiana, which is anything but. Kath and her little sister Posy are staying with their grandfather, a minister sent to keep errant congregations in line. Grando has his hands full, too, because the Ku Klux Klan is active in Peaceable, and their target is Serena, Grando's black cook. Kath is small for her age and willful, resenting that her parents have gone off on vacation with her older brother and sent her to Grando. But she loves his uncompromising ways, and she loves Serena, who sings and cooks like an angel. The townsfolk are soon divided in loyalties: the librarian—who also teaches music to the girls and their piano-loving neighbor Junior—and the shopkeeper and her daughter, who insult Serena when she comes to shop. The good folk are very good in this tale, and the bad ones very bad; while the language is careful and occasionally rich, the predictable story leads to a terrifying confrontation with the Klan, in which Kath plays a key part in saving Grando from real harm. The Klan leader, revealed in the end to be female, doesn't quite ring true, either. (Historical fiction. 9-12)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 15, 1997

In a novel that is a near-perfect combination of brutal realism and piercing lyricism, the kindhearted son of a brawling miner becomes a pariah in his lawless frontier mining town when he befriends a Chinese immigrant boy, Zi. Renny's friends have become his enemies, and both he and Zi are beaten; Renny's father wants his son to become a two-fisted fighter, and forbids the friendship. A strike over the arrest of the local priest leads to inflamed tempers, a riot is brewing, and Renny's efforts to protect his friend may cost him his family. Blakeslee maintains a clipped pace but also develops a clear picture of a frontier town and Renny's internal struggles, caught between his father and his conscience. Among the major characters there are no cardboard villains; Blakeslee, who has an eye out for the good to be found in everyone, comes perilously close to turning Zi and his family into saints, but skirts it by showing the boy's empathy, which he expresses in his journal. A powerful story of good vs. good intentions. (Fiction. 10-14) Read full book review >