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UNBROKEN by Jessie Haas

UNBROKEN

By Jessie Haas

Pub Date: March 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-688-16260-6
Publisher: Greenwillow/HarperCollins

A heartfelt but awkwardly paced novel of an orphan finding her way in 1910 Vermont. Harriet, 13, loses her mother when their horse shies from an automobile. Still barely comprehending her loss, she must also leave the house she and her mother shared to go live with her dead father Walter’s gruff sister. Sarah has had a hard life, and it shows, as she teaches Harry how to churn, gather hay, and find eggs, with little patience for her niece’s longing for school, or for the colt she loves, foal of the mare who died when her mother did. Sarah hated Harry’s mother, too, implying that pregnancy forced her beloved Walter into marriage. Harry doesn’t know the family story, but visits to the cemetery and the stories of another uncle help her piece together her past and offer her insight into Sarah’s brittleness. The emotional transitions are abrupt; the story predictably comes out all right when Harry’s school tuition gets paid, and when she and Sarah recognize their ties in blood and feeling. Readers will be comforted by the cozy denouement, and by Haas’s evocative descriptions of Vermont in the early years of this century. (Fiction. 9-14)