Daughters of the Sea: Hannah by Kathryn Lasky (Published by Scholastic, September 1, 2009)
Hannah Albury never knew her parents. She spent the first fifteen years of her life at The Boston Home for Little Wanderers, an orphanage. For as long as she can remember, she has felt drawn to the sea. But now that she is fifteen, she must leave the orphanage. First, she is sent west on the Orphan Train. But when she becomes strangely and mysteriously ill, Hannah knows she must return to live near the sea, and she is sent back to Boston.
Upon her return to the orphanage, a position is found for Hannah - she is to work as a housemaid for a wealthy family in Boston. Back near the sea, Hannah recovers, but she still senses that there is something different about her. A handsome young artist who has come to her employer’s home to paint a portrait of his daughters appears to know something about what is wrong with Hannah, but seems unwilling to give her the answers she seeks.
This book was more historical fiction with some fantasy elements, rather than fantasy with a historical setting as I had first assumed. I did overall enjoy this story but there were some unresolved plot threads that I hope are further visited in future books in the series, and I was a bit frustrated by the romance that ended abruptly without resolution. But the historical setting is well done, and the premise is interesting. I would recommend this book to readers who like historical fiction with a hint of magic, and I'm definitley interested in reading the rest of the series to see how the story concludes.