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MY DARLIN’ CLEMENTINE by Kristiana Gregory


by Kristiana Gregory

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: April 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2198-5
Publisher: Holiday House

“Oh, my darlin’, oh, my darlin,’ oh, my darlin’ Clementine, / thou art lost and gone forever—” Gregory uses the familiar folksong as a jumping-off place for a surprisingly original story. In the fictional mining town of Nugget, Idaho, Clementine’s father is known as “Dry Boots” because arthritis prevents him from panning for gold in creeks. He rides with the local vigilantes and gambles himself deeper into debt; her mother cooks for local miners and keeps secrets of her own. Clementine longs to study medicine, but when she’s offered a chance to right her family’s fortunes via an arranged marriage, she doesn’t see how she can refuse. And yet—thanks to her now-dead mother’s influence—she can also see a way out. The first-person narrative brims with confident details, making the mining town and particularly the minor characters—Tall Sing, a Chinese immigrant who works for them, the miners Whiskey Nose and Jesse Blue, and the rest—come vividly to life. Highly recommended. (Historical fiction. 10-14)