WILDFLOWER GIRL by Marita Conlon-McKenna


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Peggy, who found refuge with her great-aunts during the Irish Potato Famine (Under the Hawthorn Tree, 1990), sets out on her own for America: her sister is to be married, and her brother has found a job, so only 13-year-old Peggy accepts the subsidized passage to Boston. A motherly neighbor provides some assistance during the grueling voyage in steerage, but is detained with cabin fever on arrival. Another friend helps Peggy find lodging with a kind but businesslike fellow immigrant who matches the newly arrived girls with jobs; Peggy's first employer is a horror, but with the second--despite the obliviousness of even a nice upstairs family to downstairs drudgery--she finds a precarious stability and hope for a better future. Here, the brief tenure of a stingy martinet of a housekeeper and the animosity of the family's spoiled teenage daughter provide some suspenseful episodes, but most of the events simply dramatize the Irish immigrant experience. Still, Peggy is likable, other characters are concisely but effectively drawn, and the picture of a young girl making her way in a new land is authentic.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1992
ISBN: 1402219075
Page count: 174pp
Publisher: Holiday House