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Fryer, Mary Beacock.

Toronto. Dundurn Press, 1988. 164pp, paper. $9.50. ISBN 1-55002-043-9. CIP

Grades 6 to 9/Ages 10 to 14
Reviewed by Anne Kelly

Volume 17 Number 3
1989 May

Beginning Again is a sequel to Mary Beacock Fryer's Escape: Adventures of a Loyalist Family (Dundum Press, 1982). Told from thirteen-year-old Ned's point of view, it tells the story of the Seaman family as they begin their new life in Upper Canada In 1790. Together they clear the land, begin their farm, and finally construct a large timber raft, which they sail to Quebec.

Fryer has successfully reproduced life in the 1790’s with great attention to detail and setting. Unfortunately, throughout much of the book the narrative and characters lack the depth and vividness that would truly bring them to life.

This is due, at least in part, to the time span covered in the novel. The book opens in May 1790 and ends in the autumn of 1792. The Seamans experience a lot of adventures during the two years, including a birth, a visit from their American uncle, a trip to Long Island and Halifax, and two raft voyages to Quebec. In trying to cover so many events. Fryer has sacrificed characterization and drama.

The theme of Beginning Again—the pride of the Seaman family in being part of a young, growing country—is clear and inspiring. Young Canadians today do need to learn pride in their country. For this reason, and because of the careful attention given to the historical detail of the period. Beginning Again is an interesting and worthwhile book--for a patient child reader.

Anne Kelly, Dartmouth, N.S.
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