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THE HOPE CHEST by Karen Schwabach


by Karen Schwabach

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Jan. 22nd, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-375-84095-1
Publisher: Random House

Eleven-year-old Violet discovers to her outrage that her parents have been hiding letters sent to her by her much older sister, Chloe, who was cast out from the family for insisting that she wanted an education and a career, and for spending an inheritance earmarked for her hope chest on a Model T (christened The Hope Chest). Violet runs away to New York City in search of Chloe, but the information in the letters is out-of-date, and Chloe, now fighting for women’s suffrage, has moved on. Violet teams up with Myrtle, an African-American orphan on the lam from a maid’s school, and Mr. Martin, Chloe’s friend, who’s wanted by police for speaking out against the Great War; together they search for Chloe in the context of the Cause. Everything comes to a head in Nashville, where the suffragists’ best hope for the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment depends on the votes of a very few potentially bribable men. Schwabach tackles issues of race, class and courage head-on while never letting the plot hesitate. A fascinating account of a rarely studied part of history. (historical notes, timeline) (Historical fiction. 8-12)