Kirkus Reviews QR Code
ON WINTER'S WIND by Patricia Hermes


by Patricia Hermes

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-316-35978-5
Publisher: Little, Brown

With her father missing and presumed dead on a sailing voyage and her mother becoming more and more withdrawn, it falls to Genevieve to take care of herself, her mother, and her mildy clairvoyant younger sister, Leila. In the antebellum period it is unusual for a girl to get a job, but Gen convinces the owner of the general store in her New England coastal village to hire her. While working there she discovers that it is a stop on the Underground Railroad, and she contemplates turning in a runaway slave for the reward money, which her family badly needs. From capable Hermes (I'm Going to Pulverize You, William, 1994, etc.), the moral dilemma is not very subtle, and there's not much doubt about Gen's ultimate choice, but she is a plucky, level- headed, hard-working heroine. The same cannot be said for her mother, whose quick recovery from a descent into madness makes her appear merely self-indulgent. Gen's recitation of The Magnificat during a school presentation is genuinely affecting, and this book is a very good read. It simply does not have the insight and power of Hermes's earlier works. (Fiction. 10-13)