FEARLESS by Elvira Woodruff


Age Range: 10 - 12
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Woodruff spins a labored but engrossing tale around a lighthouse, its builder and a cataclysmic storm—all three drawn from history. Penniless and starving in Portsmouth in the wake of the sinking of their father’s ship, Digory and his little brother Cubby are rescued by Henry Winstanley, a well-to-do merchant and inventor who has built the first lighthouse out on Cornwall’s treacherous Eddystone Reef. A close rapport quickly develops, so that when Winstanley heads out to make repairs on the lighthouse in the teeth of a gale aptly dubbed the “Storm of the Century,” Digory overcomes his fear of the sea and follows with a shipment of candles. The author lays portents and warnings into the plot with a heavy hand, builds to a wild and devastating climax and then wrenches events around to a more or less happy ending. Winstanley was a fascinating individual who doesn’t get his due here, but Digory, despite his continual fretting, is a protagonist who actually seems to be his given age, and there’s enough natural and human drama to carry readers along. (afterword, map) (Historical fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-439-67703-5
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2008


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