Saturday, February 5, 2011

Book review: Dear America: A Light in the Storm by Karen Hesse

Dear America: A Light in the Storm by Karen Hesse (New edition published by Scholastic, March 1, 2011; originally published in 1999)

Fifteen-year-old Amelia Martin and her parents live at the lighthouse on Fenwick Island, off the coast of Delaware, where her father is the assistant lighthouse keeper, and Amelia often assists him. She begins her diary in December 1860, as the nation is divided by the subject of slavery on the eve of the Civil War. There is a similar divide in the marriage of Amelia's parents, who disagree about slavery, and it is destroying their relationship. Amelia used to not care about slavery, but now she finds herself taking the side of her father, who is very opposed to slavery.

Amelia must stand by helplessly as she watches both her parents' marriage and her country be torn apart. The state of Delaware, as a border state, is even more divided than most places. Many people that were once friends no longer speak to each other, while others avoid businesses they once shopped at due to differences of opinion about the war. The only thing Amelia can do is continue helping to keep the light in the lighthouse burning.

A Light in the Storm was an interesting book from the Dear America series that I first read when it was originally published in 1999. It wasn't one of my favorites from the series, but I enjoyed the descriptions of lighthouse life and the unique setting which sets the book apart from countless other historical novels set during the Civil War. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoyed other books from the Dear America series or who are interested in the historical setting.

1 comment:

Mystica said...

I had not heard of this series and I doubt I will ever be able to get these books in this part of the world, but I liked the reviews very much. Thanks.

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