cover image The Second Bend in the River

The Second Bend in the River

Ann Rinaldi. Scholastic, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-590-74258-0

Rinaldi (Keep Smiling Through; The Fifth of March) crafts an elegant and moving account of the budding romance between Shawnee chief Tecumseh and a young frontier girl, set against the events leading up to the War of 1812. As usual, Rinaldi's sense of her period setting is on target-the speech and details of everyday life are arresting and accessible; the characters are multidimensional and believable; and she shows how rumors and mistrust on both sides fueled the dispute between the Indians and settlers. The real story, however, is smart, strong-willed Rebecca Galloway's admiration for and attraction to Tecumseh. Rebecca teaches Tecumseh about verb tenses and the Bible, while he reveals much about the beauty of wild things. Tecumseh's proposal of marriage, Rebecca's confusion and their final love scene will pull at all hearts that have felt the pangs of first love. Rebecca's shrewd observations, resourcefulness and compassion make her a character to be reckoned with-and one girls on the threshold of womanhood will appreciate. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)