The jacket calls it a novel and an author's note advises that the people are fictitious, but this takes the shape of a diary, and notwithstanding a slow and humdrum beginning, we quite come to believe in it. The journal relates a crucial year or so in the life of Catherine Cabot Hall, age 13 at the start, a year in which she secretly aids a fugitive who turns out to be a runaway slave, comes to accept her father's new wife, and experiences the death of a muchloved friend. The tone is suitably restrained, and the language, which means to mimic accurately the speech and writing patterns of the period, is so awkwardly formal at times that to follow it the reader must be sharply attentive. The reward is a warm and interesting glimpse into a past way of life dependent on the close society of neighbors, friends, and family. Carefully researched and convincingly delivered.