BOSTON JANE by Jennifer L. Holm


An Adventure
Age Range: 10 - 14
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It’s etiquette versus exigency in 19th-century Washington Territory. Jane Peck wasn’t always a lady; until the age of 11, she was the very picture of a hoyden, terrorizing the neighborhood with rotten apples and manure pats. But prodded by the censure of the ladylike Sally Biddle, and with the encouragement of her physician father’s apprentice, William of the dazzling smile, she enrolls in Miss Hepplewhite’s Young Ladies Academy. In the space of four years, she goes from being an independent and opinionated, if messy, girl to a very proper young lady, much to the dismay of her independent and opinionated Papa. But when she sails from Philadelphia to Shoalwater Bay to join William, she finds that he has gone, and she must make a place for herself among rough mountain men and the Chinook Indians, none of whom give a hoot for the accomplishments of a young lady. Holm (Our Only May Amelia, 1999) gives readers an original, likable narrator in Jane and a good-humored, rip-roaring romantic adventure, with colorful secondary characters to spare. These include Mr. James Swan, who left his family in Boston to pursue anthropological study (an actual historical figure), and the blue-eyed Jehu, the sailor who encourages Jane to revise her notion of proper young ladyhood. A couple of subplots are left hanging or seem out of place: the obvious decline in Jane’s father’s health goes unresolved, and the introduction of the ghost of Jane’s traveling companion does little to further the plot. An unfortunately young-looking cover illustration will limit the usefulness of this otherwise highly enjoyable historical romp. (author’s note) (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-06-028738-1
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2001


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