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Bri Meets Books

Children's and YA literature reviews.

annasworld1845. As war rages in Mexico,  fourteen-year old Anna Coburn is safe and sound among the Shakers in Goshen.  Sent to live with the peaceful community by her father, Anna struggles with the strange and rigid life of the Shakers. Her old home, Martindale, is gone, devastated by a flood, and she awaits her father’s return after she recovers from typhoid.   She has one friend, Sally, who asks her to help her escape from Goshen to be with her beloved.   But it’s another friendship that may prove treacherous – even after she leaves Goshen for the pampered life in Boston.

I’ve never been a fan of historical fiction, but the synopsis of this intrigued me.  After reading Anna’s World, I am honestly glad I did.   The descriptive writing, rich with historical detail, draws you in instantly.  What unfolds is a story with palpable tension the bulk of the novel, even in the most serene of settings.

I love getting to know Anna – her character reminded me of Francie in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, both are so enamored with learning.  Anna’s teacher such as Sister Zenobia, a former wild child with a flair for poetry was also a favorite.

Anna’s World addresses some heavy issues of moral choice, without becoming didactic. It doesn’t dwell on page after page of history lessons, but rather the details and themes of the Shaker lifestyle are woven in. Several prominent authors from the period (Thoreau, Hawthorne, Emerson) make an appearance, and one helps Anna in discovering her right place in the world.  The authors wrote several original Shaker songs for the novel, and include additional resources in the back of the book. Their thorough attention to detail and loving tribute to a nearly extinct religious sect is a must-read.

Copy for review provided by the publisher.

Title: Anna’s World
Author: Wim Coleman & Pat Perrin
Date: July 2009
Publisher: Chiron Books

Format: Trade paperback


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