MABLE RILEY: A Reliable Record of Humdrum, Peril, and Romance

Marthe Jocelyn, Author . Candlewick $15.99 (279p) ISBN 978-0-7636-2120-9

Historical fiction buffs, especially those interested in the women's suffrage movement, will enjoy sharing the eye-opening experiences of Jocelyn's (Earthly Astonishments ; The Invisible Enemy ) Canadian heroine, 14-year-old Mable Riley. Written as a series of letters and journal entries, the book chronicles Mable's first venture out into the world in 1901, when she serves as teacher's assistant for her older sister, Viola, in Perth County, Ontario. Mable's spunky, irrepressible behavior at school and with her host family, the Goodhands, will likely amuse readers. Equally entertaining is Mable's seemingly limitless imagination, displayed through the episodic story "full of romance and adventure" which she writes in installments for a friend back home. The heroine's most impressive quality, however, proves to be her sense of justice, which is tested more than once after she befriends aptly named Mrs. Rattle, whose modern ideas and unusual fashions shake up the community. When Mable supports Mrs. Rattle's efforts to end cruel labor practices at a nearby cheese company, she risks losing the respect of Viola, the Goodhands and her friends at school. The teen's attendance at an organized protest rally creates plenty of drama and also supplies a history lesson on the plight of turn-of-the-century laborers. Luckily, conflicts (including Mable's arrest) dissolve smoothly, paving the way for a romantic, happily-ever-after ending. Ages 10-up. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/23/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-88776-767-8
Prebound-Glued - 279 pages - 978-0-7569-8183-9
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4178-2075-7
Ebook - 978-1-77049-024-6
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-0-88776-663-3
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