Julia Mary Gibson
Starscape, 2014 (2014)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
ulia Mary Gibson's
is an engaging historical (set in 1906) with hints of Native American magic. Its heroine, twelve-year old Violet Blake, lives with her father on his farm outside the lakeside town of Pigeon Harbor. Violet is a practiced liar, which is just as well, given what's ahead of her.
iolet badly misses her mother Georgia, who left some time ago with Violet's beloved younger brother Francis, whom she calls Fry. She does not know why they left or when they will return, and her father is uncommunicative. Preachers from Chicago had bought the strip of woods between the Blake farm and Blue Lake. Violet meets and befriends their canny daughter Mercy.
ust before she meets Mercy, Violet (who has American Indian ancestry on her mother's side) has a vision of '
a wrinkled lady with long white braids in a cape of white swan feathers waving in wind
' and finds an ancient copper hand. She's convinced that it has magical powers and begins to make wishes - for a new dress and her mother's return.
he first wish comes true right after she returns home. Aunt Phyllis shows up, to drag Violet into town for new clothing and a job interview - Miss Zalzman, a talented artist/photographer, badly needs an assistant. Violet loves her new job and her employer. Her friendship with Mercy grows and she shares the secret of the Hand with her.
ut then everything goes wrong - the Hand is stolen and Native bones unearthed. When Violet tries to set things right, black bellboy Isaac is accused of theft - and worse follows. What should she do?
is a well crafted tale about a young woman filled with questions and trying to find answers and do what is right. Enjoy the story, as well as the author's
on its origins.
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