Saturday, October 16, 2010

Book review: Dear Canada: Where the River Takes Me by Julie Lawson

Dear Canada: Where the River Takes Me by Julie Lawson (Published by Scholastic Canada, September 1, 2008)

Twelve-year-old Jenna Sinclair begins her diary in August of 1849. She is an orphan living with her strict Aunt Grace at Fort Edmonton, where her father worked for the Hudson's Bay Company before his death. Shortly after Jenna begins writing her diary, Aunt Grace marries, and now Jenna must leave her home for the first time in her life, for her new uncle has been assigned to a job at a different fort. Jenna is very sad to leave her best friend, Suzanne, and her beloved grandmother, but she is also excited about the adventures she is sure to have on her journey.

Shortly after arriving at her new home, Fort Colvile, Jenna learns of a school for the children of high-ranking Hudson's Bay Company employees. Her aunt and uncle agree that Jenna can attend the school, and so she sets out on another long journey to Fort Victoria on Vancouver's Island. The school isn't quite what Jenna hoped for, as the teachers are very strict. But she eventually makes new friends, explores the island, tries to solve a mystery, and visits the local Indian tribe, while recording all her adventures in her diary, as she hopes to write a novel based on her adventures someday.

Where the River Takes Me is another good book from the Dear Canada series. Jenna is a likeable narrator, and the book is full of interesting historical details. This book is mostly a story of what everyday life was like for the child of a Hudson's Bay Company employee in the mid 19th century and I think it had less of a plot compared to some of the other books in the Dear Canada series. Still, this book is an enjoyable read that I recommend to readers who enjoyed other books from this series or from the similar Dear America series.

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