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  • Boston Jane: Wilderness Days
  • Written by Jennifer L. Holm
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780375862052
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  • Boston Jane: Wilderness Days
  • Written by Jennifer L. Holm
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780375894008
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Boston Jane: Wilderness Days

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Written by Jennifer L. HolmAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Jennifer L. Holm

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List Price: $7.99

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On Sale: May 25, 2010
Pages: 256 | ISBN: 978-0-375-89400-8
Published by : Yearling RH Childrens Books
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Girls looking for adventure, romance, and a strong heroine will love the second book in this action-packed historical trilogy by three-time Newbery Honor winner and New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Holm.

1854. The Pacific Northwest. Sixteen-year-old Jane Peck has traveled halfway around the world in the name of true love, only to find herself alone on the frontier, abandoned by her no-good fiancé! With nothing of her old life in Philadelphia left to return to, Jane has little choice but to dry her tears, roll up her sleeves, and make the best of things in Washington Territory. But can a proper young lady survive as the only girl in a primitive pioneer settlement? And can she keep her wits about her as she braves a flea-ridden cabin, a perilous manhunt . . . and a blossoming romance with an entirely unsuitable suitor? What would Jane's finishing-school teacher say?!

With Boston Jane, Jennifer L. Holm has created a spirited, memorable, and one-of-a-kind heroine who continues to delight and inspire in this acclaimed sequel to the award-winning Boston Jane: An Adventure.

Excerpt

It was a sweet September day on the beach, much like the day I'd first sailed into Shoalwater Bay that April. The sun was skipping across the water, and the sky was a bright arc of blue racing to impossibly tall green trees. And for the first time since arriving on this wild stretch of wilderness, I felt lucky again.  

You see, I had survived these many months in the company of rough men and Chinook Indians, not to mention a flea-ridden hound, and while it was true that my wardrobe had suffered greatly, one might say that my person had thrived. I had made friends. I had started an oyster business. I had survived endless calamity: six months of seasickness on the voyage from Philadelphia, a near-drowning, a fall from a cliff, and a smallpox outbreak. What was there to stop me now?  

Although a life on the rugged frontier of the Washington Territory was not recommended for a proper young lady of sixteen, especially in the absence of a suitable chaperone, I intended to try it.   After all, I did make the best pies on Shoalwater Bay. And striding up the beach toward me was a man who appreciated them.  

"Jane!"   He had the bluest eyes I had ever seen, bluer than the water of the bay behind him. A schooner, the Hetty, was anchored not far out, and it was the reason I had packed all my belongings and was standing beside my trunk. The same schooner had brought Jehu Scudder back to the bay after a prolonged absence. Indeed, when Jehu left, I had doubted that I would ever see him again.  

"Jane," Jehu said gruffly, his thick black hair brushing his shoulders, his eyes glowing in his tanned face. I had last seen him nearly two months ago, at which time I had hurt his feelings, and sailor that he was, he had vowed to sail as far away as China to be rid of me.  

"Jehu," I replied, nervously pushing a sticky tangle of red curls off my cheeks.  

He shook his head. "You're looking well, Miss Peck."  

"As are you, Mr. Scudder," I replied, my voice light.  

We stood there for a moment just looking at each other, the soft bay air brushing between us like a ribbon. Without thinking, I took a step forward, toward him, until I was so close that I breathed the scent of the saltwater on his skin. And all at once I remembered that night, those stars, his cheek close to mine.  

"Boston Jane! Boston Jane!" a small voice behind me cried.  

Sootie, a Chinook girl who had become dear to me, came rushing down the beach, little legs pumping, her feet wet from the tide pool in which she had been playing. She was waving a particularly large clamshell at me, of the sort the Chinook children often fashioned into dolls.  

"Look what I found!" she said, eyeing Jehu.  

"Sootie," I said, smoothing back her thick black hair. "You remember Captain Scudder? He was the first mate on the Lady Luck, the ship that brought me here from Philadelphia."  

Sootie clutched the skirts of my blue calico dress and hid behind them shyly, peeking out at Jehu with her bright brown eyes. Her mother, my friend Suis, had died in the summer smallpox outbreak, and since then Sootie had spent a great deal of time inmy company.  

Jehu crouched down next to her, admiring her find. "That's a real nice shell you have there."  

She grinned flirtatiously at him, exposing a gap where one of her new front teeth was coming in.  

Jehu grinned right back and squinted up at me from where he knelt. "I see you took my advice about wearing blue. Although I did like that Chinook skirt of yours," he teased, his Boston accent dry as a burr.  

The cedar bark skirt in question, while very comfortable, had left my legs quite bare. "That skirt was hardly proper, Jehu," I rebuked him gently.  

At this, his lips tightened and a shuttered look came across his face. The thick angry scar on his cheek twitched in a familiar way. He hunched his shoulders forward and stood up, deliberately looking somewhere over my shoulder. "Ah, yes, proper."  

I bit my lip and stepped back. I had little doubt as to what was causing this sudden transformation. I had rejected his affections, as I had been engaged to another man.  

"So tell me, how is your new husband?" he asked in a clipped voice.  

"Jehu," I said quickly.  

He turned from me and stared angrily out at the smooth bay. "If you'll excuse me, I've got supplies to deliver," he said tersely, and then he turned on his booted heel and strode quickly down the beach away from me.  

I took a step forward, Sootie's arms tight around my legs. What was I to do? Miss Hepplewhite, my instructor at the Young Ladies Academy in Philadelphia, had a great number of opinions on the proper behavior of a young lady. I had discovered, however, that many of her careful instructions were sorely lacking when it came to surviving on the frontier. There was not much call for pouring tea or embroidering handkerchiefs in the wilds of Shoalwater Bay. And I certainly didn't recall any helpful hints on howto prevent the only man one had ever kissed from storming away for the second time in one's life. So I did something that I was sure would have shocked my old teacher.  

I shouted.   "I didn't marry him!"  
Jennifer L. Holm

About Jennifer L. Holm

Jennifer L. Holm - Boston Jane: Wilderness Days

Photo © Photo provided by the author

This book, Turtle in Paradise, started with a story my mom liked to tell about her childhood. During the summers, her grandmother would take her to Key West to visit her relatives. Her mother made her promise to “shake her shoes out.” My mom didn’t know why her mother wanted her to do this, but she did it anyway. And then one hot day, she shook her shoes and out popped . . . a scorpion!
 
Writing Turtle in Paradise was a wonderful way to re-connect with my Key West heritage. My great-grandmother, Jennie Lewin Peck, emigrated from the Bahamas to Key West at the turn of the century. She considered herself a “Conch,” what the local Key West folks called themselves, after the native mollusk that so many fished for in the Bahamas. Nana was always talking about how she missed sugar apple ice cream and Spanish limes. When my editor, Shana Corey, started asking me about Nana and my Key West family, I just knew that there was a story somewhere in there.
 
Researching this book was also an interesting way to experience a different side of living through the Great Depression. While Key West suffered significant economic hardship (the town went bankrupt and the majority of the citizens were on economic relief), it didn’t have the same sort of feel as most of the depression stories I was used to hearing—soup lines, tent cities, and the Dust Bowl. Key West was warm for one thing, and there was plenty of free food, courtesy of the sea. One man told me, he ate lobster during the Depression! Key West was a freewheeling town full of characters and bygone industries—sponge fishing, rumrunners, and, of course, pirates! It had all the ingredients for a fabulous setting.
 
I hope you enjoy reading Turtle in Paradise as much as I enjoyed writing it. And if you ever go to Key West, be sure to shake out your shoes!

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