ON THE WASTELAND by Ruth M. Arthur


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Betony tells her story with a languid sophistication that seems inappropriate to a thirteen-year-old nicknamed ""Gipsy"" by her more conformist fellow orphans. And the lassitude carries over into the plot which alternates between Betony's first tenuous friendships--with old Yetty, with black Orrie whom for a time she suspects of burning Yetty's house, with handsome Linnie who's heir to the big house where she works during school holidays--and her wanderings out on the salt marsh where she sights a Viking ship and, now and then, finds herself transformed into Estrith, sister of Thorkell and betrothed to a Saxon prince. The mixture seems half-hearted rather than dreamlike, and considering the number of heroines who have similar experiences nowadays there isn't much reason for anyone to get overexcited. Compared to Seton (see below) this is pleasantly literate. Still, the props--a moor, a handful of picturesque types, a soupcon of time travel--have never been more gratuitous.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1975
Page count: 168pp
Publisher: Atheneum