MOUNTAIN VALOR by Gloria Houston


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Age Range: 10 - 14
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 Valor's father is away fighting for the South when raiders come through their farm; clutching his medal (for which she was named) the girl hides, but her mother miscarries as a result of the raid. Years later, when raiders come again, Valor's mother kills a man, her brother is shot, their free African-American servant is killed and his wife is raped. Valor's mentor--Aunt Becky, an old ``witch woman''--wears trousers and rides astride, claiming to be ``sister to the wind.'' When raiders take Valor's horse and other stock, she dons men's clothing to pursue them, is accepted as their cook, puts the men to sleep with a potion, finds she can't bring herself to kill the one who harmed her mother but cracks him in the head with her rifle butt, and rides home with livestock intact. As Aunt Becky tells her, Valor, too, is now a ``sister to the wind.'' The story's grounding in reality gives it resonance; the Appalachian terrain, dialect, and lifestyle--as well as the ambivalent loyalties among mountain people in the Civil War--are all well handled. A taut, unusually authentic novel. (Fiction. 10- 14)

Pub Date: May 12th, 1994
ISBN: 0-399-22519-6
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1994


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