CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Marianne Brandis.
Erin, ON: The Porcupine's Quill, 1985.
100pp., paper, $8.85.
ISBN 0-88984-085-7. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Orphans-Juvenile fiction.
Frontier and pioneer life-Juvenile fiction.
Ontario-History-19th century-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 7-9 / Ages 12-14

Reviewed by Elizabeth Woodger.

Volume 14 Number 3
1986 May

Students of Canadian history and their teachers will find merit in this piece of historical fiction. Emma Anderson, the character previously described in The Tinderbox ¹, is orphaned at the age of fourteen and goes with her brother to live with an aunt in the city of York. There she works as a chambermaid in her aunt's small hotel, while her eleven-year-old brother is hired out to work in a livery stable.

The descriptions of life in a small community cannot be faulted. Wood engravings interspersed throughout the book add to the feeling of the period. However, the average student will find little of interest in the slow-moving plot. Emma struggles with her desire for a higher social position as she goes about her chores. She suspects her aunt may not be all that she appears, since she had never heard of her until her parent's death. This interesting suggestion remains unresolved. Recommended only for libraries collecting Canadian historical fiction.

Elizabeth Woodger, Msgr. Doyle Catholic S.S., Cambridge, ON.

¹ Reviewed vol. Xl/l January 1983, p. 13.

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