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In New York City in 1914, eleven-year-old Susan encounters a mystery through an independent-minded female boarder and becomes involved in the growing suffrage movement
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Grade 3-6-Strong female characters and a cohesive plot weave their way between fact and fiction to create an interesting story set in New York City in 1914. Unknown to Susan O'Neal, her widowed mother's new English boarder is a suffragette who has come to organize the neighborhood. Susan slowly becomes aware that Bea is hiding something, and grows suspicious of this woman with whom she has formed a close bond. When her mother disappears, the girl suspects that Bea knows more than she'll admit and demands some answers. She then learns that her mother has become involved in the movement and was arrested during a demonstration that turned riotous. The author's description of the city in the early 1900s accurately shows the hardships endured. Main and secondary characters are believable individuals reacting to situations in a consistent manner as they strive to better their situations. They move within the framework of the plot, interacting with one another, relying on their common sense to help them through a difficult time. Bea's political struggle and the lies she must create in order to continue her work compete with her love for Susan, who wants to know the truth. The author does an excellent job of maintaining a heightened sense of suspense throughout the story. The inclusion of historical information regarding the suffragist movement is an added bonus to this entertaining story.
Janet Gillen, Great Neck Public Library, NY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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