An enthralling account of everyday life at Plimoth Plantation in 1626-27. The boat carrying indentured servant Christopher Sears, 13, to Jamestown, Va., runs into heavy weather off the coast of New England and is abandoned. Christopher is billeted at the Brewster house, where he takes to the daily routines of family and colony. The book is written in the form of a journal, and Christopher relates scads of fascinating tidbits, from food to funerals, entertainment to worship, crops to architecture. He gossips, attends court, falls in love. And in April he has one of his thrice-yearly baths. A taste of life at Plimoth emerges with startling clarity, illustrated by Christopher's woodcuts (early in his stay, he takes up engraving). Bowen (My Village Sturbridge, 1977) pulls no punches. He's not interested in creating a Plimoth idyll -- lawbreakers are whipped and clapped into stocks, fines levied, a child removed to a foster home when her parents are deemed to be spoiling her. The story ends with a satisfying and believable twist. Bowen's reputation rests secure as the crafter of scrupulously researched, beautifully illustrated stories.