SUMMER OF THE BURNING by Frances Duncombe


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The climax of Hannah Mills' story is not the burning of her home town by British soldiers, nor her mother's death from childbed fever, nor even her wild ride to save her sweetheart Jacob and a herd of Yankee cattle from falling into a British ambush, That after all this, Hannah's big moment should be facing a busybody churchwoman's accusations of ""scandalous goings on""--and being vindicated by Jacob's supportive father--shows how Revolutionary. war events take a back seat to teenage romantic notions. Compared to Betty Cavanna's Ruffles and Drums frippery (1975), this does have some moments that call for Hannah to take the initiative; Mother's difficult labor in the midst of a Hessian raid; brother Elijah's stubborn refusal to help with ""woman's work"" when the children are orphaned. But despite the fully plotted action and Westchester (New York) locales, one senses that Cuffari's insipid view of Hannah, looking well-groomed and smiling as she hoes the corn (though she is supposedly living in a cave and doing backbreaking work) is distressingly faithful to the author's own conception.

Pub Date: June 17th, 1976
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Putnam