From School Library Journal
Grade 6-10-An interesting book set at the beginning of the 20th century when big changes were happening. Eleanor Hill knows she is different. While her older sisters marry fishermen in their small North Carolina town as is expected of them, she dreams of being a world traveler like her brother Frank, who teaches her to drive his Model T when he returns home for their sister Lila's wedding. After Frank leaves for California, Eleanor also leaves-without their father's permission-to live with an aunt in a nearby city so she can attend high school. Once in New Bern, she bobs her hair; goes to the movies with a suitable, if boring young man; and meets another young man who sparks her interest. A telegram announcing that Frank is ill sends Eleanor to California, and after his funeral she returns to New Bern where she gets a job and then visits home to make peace with her father. All of the characters are well-drawn individuals, but none seem to change during the course of the story. The historical details are fascinating. Aunt Velma arrives at Lila's wedding with a new item, a brassiere, and a treat of Pepsi-Cola for the reception. Frank works on the Panama Canal, and Eleanor's teacher secretly works for women's suffrage before she is asked to leave and moves to Wyoming as a frontier teacher. While this unassuming book may not have a wide readership, it does draw a vivid picture of the times.Lisa Prolman, Greenfield Public Library, MA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Twelve-year-old Eleanor dreams of escaping from her small North Carolina village and seeing the world. Although family and friends don't understand or support her desire for education and independence, she perseveres, and five years of travel bring her unexpected joys, challenges, and rewards of the heart. This engaging novel, set in the early 1900s, is both an homage to Kline's grandmother and a timeless story of a young woman trying to balance tradition and family loyalty with her wishes for happiness and fulfillment. Clear, descriptive prose, realistic dialogue, and well-researched historic details immerse readers in the times. Appealing, dimensional characters represent diverse beliefs and conflicts without stereotyping. That's particularly the case with likable, determined Eleanor, whose growth and change are sympathetically portrayed. Notably unsentimental and more mature in its treatment of adolescent physical and emotional changes than many novels for the age group, this satisfying, engrossing read will appeal to fans of historical fiction. Shelle Rosenfeld