It's 1851 and Lucy Spencer's family is keeping a secret. Their Ohio home is a station on the Underground Railroad, the network of people and places that helps fugitive slaves escape to freedom in Canada. Lucy believes in what she and her family do to help the fugitives, even if it means putting herself in danger. So Lucy doesn't hesitate when she is asked to stay with the Widow Aurelia Mercer and help her with a family of runaway slaves hiding in her attic. And she learns so much from her experience--about growing up, love, and standing on her own. But what will Lucy do when she is asked to make the ultimate sacrifice and leave all she loves behind?
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(195mm x 130mm x 12mm)
Random House USA Children's Books
Publisher: Random House USA Inc
Country of Publication:
US Kirkus Review »
An Ohio teenager abandons family and home to bring an escaped slave's baby to freedom in this handwringer - told in letters and diary entries - from Ayres (Family Tree, 1997, etc.). Lucinda and her parents have run a stop on the Underground Railroad for years. When a large group of escapees in the care of solitary neighbor Aurelia Mercer moves on, they leave behind Cass, an ill, pregnant teenager. Isolated with the two women both by weather and fear of slave-catchers, Lucinda fills uneventful weeks penning notes to family and friends, and fretting tediously over two suitors - one solid and stuffy, the other a dashing Quaker. In the meantime, she teaches Cass to read and write, and absorbs ideas about female independence from Aurelia. Cass dies shortly after giving birth; Lucinda's attempt to carry the baby to Canada goes awry when she's recognized. She passes herself off as the mother, buying herself time to slip away, but making it impossible for her to return. After her spun-out romantic quandary and superficial musings on various topics, this is a bombshell. Her previously expressed inclination toward leaving home and her firm belief that her Quaker swain will follow make weak justification for the ease with which she accepts the prospects of this life-altering decision. With such shaky internal logic, the story collapses under its own weight. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Katherine Ayres
Katherine Ayres is the author of Family Tree, which has been named to several state award lists, and North by Night: A Story of the Underground Railroad. She is a founding member of the Playwright s Lab at the Pittsburgh Public Theater. She teaches writing at Chatham College, where she also coordinates the Master of Arts program in children s and adolescent writing. From the Hardcover edition."