Books by Janet Hickman

SUSANNAH by Janet Hickman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 1998

Hickman explores the question of how deeply personal beliefs should be subordinated in the name of fitting into a religious community, in a tightly woven coming-of-age story based on an 1910 incident involving a group of Shakers near Lebanon, Ohio. After the death of his wife, Susannah's father desperately seeks stability and security. He joins a small band of Shakers whose emphasis on communal values rather than the bond between parent and child dismays Susannah. While living under the constant surveillance of the irascible Sister Olive Gatewood, Susannah befriends Mary, a small child whose mother has left the Believers, as they are called, and is now desperate to get her daughter back. Faced with the momentous choice of whether to embrace her freedom when it is offered or to remain as Mary's protector, Susannah makes a decision that affects the rest of her life. A worthy successor to Hickman's Jericho (1994), this is a thoughtful look at a piece of religious history and is a good choice for readers interested in the Shakers. (Fiction. 10-14) Read full book review >
JERICHO by Janet Hickman
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 1, 1994

GrandMin, 12-year-old Angela's great-grandmother, has lost track of the present. When Angela keeps her company to relieve her mother and Gram, GrandMin stares vacantly, forgets who Angela is, and reiterates the most basic questions. Gram is at the end of her strength, and Angela's family is here to paint GrandMin's house and help think things through. Bored and lonely, Angela yearns for home and pins her dreams on Tom Ferris, a local boy. Meanwhile, alternating sections present GrandMin's youth. Raised by her sister Delia after their mother's death, Arminta (``Min'') lost her, too, after Delia bore an out-of-wedlock child; Min then lost the young man she loved to her less amiable sister, Lucy. Sensitive readers will pick up both the contrasts and the parallels between Min's life and Angela's. Most conspicuous is Angela's sense of betrayal when she sees Tom kissing another girl, though the import is far less shattering than Min's loss. What holds attention here is the delicate evocation of two well- spaced generations. This perceptive and beautifully written book is a poignant reminder that even when all that remains of their existence is headstones and photos, the people of previous eras once had lives as full as our own. (Fiction. 10+) Read full book review >