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THE UNSIGNED VALENTINE by Johanna Hurwitz

THE UNSIGNED VALENTINE

and Other Events in the Life of Emma Meade

by Johanna Hurwitz, illustrated by Mary Azarian

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-06-056053-3
Publisher: HarperCollins

Hurwitz continues her early 20th-century series begun in Faraway Summer (1998), focusing on Emma’s coming-of-age year when she turns 16. It is one year later as Emma records life on her Vermont farm and small community from early fall through a harsh winter into early spring. Weaving in and around certain true historical events of the area, Emma’s story is one of hard work, responsibility and a budding romance—all amid family needs and parental expectations through a long drought season followed by a dangerously wet destructive spring flood. As in the previous installment, Hurwitz renders a fine look into the era and setting in her easy, smooth writing style, peppered with the dilemmas of a young woman’s role within society and family, her intrigue about courtship and jealousy and the perils of Vermont blizzards. An author’s note provides a nice explanation and rationale for her approach to the story’s events. Azarian’s black-and-white illustrations complement the overall mood. (Historical fiction. 10-14)