HOPE by LouAnn Gaeddert


Age Range: 8 - 12
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 Gaeddert (Breaking Free, 1994, etc.) has done it: She's created historical fiction that accurately and vividly depicts Shaker life in the 19th-century prime of the movement. Their mother dead and their father missing in California gold country, Hope and younger brother John are taken in by the brothers and sisters of Hancock Shaker Village. John adapts to his new life immediately, but Hope resents the strange rules (male/female separation) that prevent her from seeing her brother, finds the religious practices bizarre, and distrusts the motives of the Shakers, despite their obvious kindness and generosity. When the opportunity arises, Hope leaves to join her father, and John remains behind. An afterword explains the highlights of Shaker history, customs, and beliefs. This almost vanished sect is rendered authentically and given flesh-and-blood presence throughout the book: The Shakers' rigidness, understated warmth, endless patience, moral certainty, and courage are so well conveyed that Hope's determination to leave soon seems obstinate. With each page, Gaeddert's beautifully wrought story takes readers into an almost alien world, makes them comfortable, and shows them how much has been lost with its passing. An engrossing achievement. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-689-80128-9
Page count: 165pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1995