Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Book review - The Runaways Gold

Title:  The Runaway’s Gold
Author: Emilie Christie Burack
Genre: historical fiction
Similar books:  Listen to the Moon by Michael Murpurgo
                      My Near Death Adventures by Alison DeCamp

Intriguing but perhaps overly convoluted
Summary (provided by publisher): In 1842, Christopher Robertson's family lives a difficult life as “crofters,” farmers and fishermen so in debt to the landowner that they have no hope of ever breaking free. To make matters worse, Christopher also lives under the thumb of his morally questionable father and devious brother. When his brother frames him for the theft of their father's secret bag of coins, Christopher must leave his home and embark on a journey across the island to return the coins and clear his name. It's a journey that takes twists and turns, including stops in prison, on a smuggler's ship, and at the house of a beautiful girl—and it ends with him escaping to a new life in America, which has dangers of its own.

My opinion: Interesting. I have some fondness for tales of poverty and hidden treasure. This one is a little Dickensian, what with the plucky and virtuous young man in desperate circumstances, trying to find a way to clear his name and help his family in spite of dishonest rich men and greedy grasping acquaintances. Of the historical fiction I’ve read lately, though, this is the one I have the hardest time imagining recommending to young readers. Perhaps too complex for many. The focus of the novel switches back and forth between Christopher’s present, in New York, and the circumstances in Shetland that led him to run away. With situations that will have young readers crying out “unfair” and dialogue that leans heavily on Scottish terms and historical situations that are unfamiliar to the modern reader, this book is not likely to keep most readers engaged all the way to the end.

Advance Reader Copy provided by NetGalley

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