Monday, November 9, 2009


Carolyn Pogue

London, England, 1895, Gwen Peters turned eleven years old. It was a difficult day for Gwen. Her dad had been very sick all day, until he finally passed away, leaving her an orphan. Before he died, he gave Gwen a book, White Wampum by Pauline Johnson, a Canadian Indian Princess. A neighbor, Mrs. Bostwick took control of the situation and called the doctor, and finally called Dr. Peters of the Girls Home. Since Gwen had no family to go to, the Girls Home was her best opportunity, and Gwen knew it. Within one day, her whole life had changed. The Girls Home was an organization, that after at least a year of training, young orphan girls go into service to gentlemen and ladies in England, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand. Gwen lived in a cottage with twenty other young girls; there were four bedrooms, and five girls to each bedroom. Their house matron believed, “the devil finds work for idle hands”, so between chores and lessons they were kept busy from 6.30 in the morning until after cleaning up from supper. A year later, girls were given the opportunity to volunteer to sail to Canada … Gwen was the first girl to raise her hand, and within minutes fifty girls had volunteered to change their lives forever. Gwen’s future was set, yet she had no idea of the adventures and hardships that were before her. Gwen’s life would come full circle, and know Canada was her future.

This story of Gwen is based on a true story. As a piece of historical fiction written for the young adult market, I found this novel very interesting. It covered a subject, Home Child, I was not familiar with, and therefore, was not only an engaging read, but educational.

BIBLIO: 2009, Sumach Press, Ages 10 +, $12.95
REVIEWER: Debby Willett
FORMAT: Young Adult Novel / Historical Fiction
ISBN: 978-1-894549-80-6

REVIEWED FOR: Children’s Literature, Online Version, 11-5-09

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