A Stolen Life

Jane Louise Curry, Author, Mark Elliott, Illustrator Margaret K. McElderry Books $16 (208p) ISBN 978-0-689-82932-1
This densely layered, fast-paced historical novel encompasses an impressive range of settings, opening in 1758 in Highland Scotland and moving to a Virginia manor and then to a Cherokee village. Jamesina McKenzie, an educated daughter of Highland gentry, ""will not learn to be a lady."" Her father and brothers supported Bonnie Prince Charlie's bid for the English crown, and when they are murdered, Jamie must dress as a boy to avoid imprisonment. But in her disguise, she is thrust into even greater danger when a boat of ""spiriters"" abduct her for bonded servitude in America. Curry (Dark Shade) paints the corrupt injustice of indentured servitude and slavery, and she textures the varied settings with detail and colorful language. The cast is exotic (e.g., a regal African servant Royal who turns out to be a prince; a Cherokee warrior woman), but the relationships among the characters are not always convincing. Some readers may also find the final twists that lead Jamie home too convenient, but the likable, brave heroine and the energetic storytelling are well worth the suspension of disbelief. Ages 10-14. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/04/1999
Release date: 10/01/1999
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-439-40908-7
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