The Diary of Lydia Amelia Pierce
Like The Willow Tree
Portland, Maine, 1918
" They'll seem strange to you at first. They have some strange customs. It's their religion." ~ Uncle Henry
started reading: 10/4/11
From the cover:
In 1918, as the Great War rages in Europe, the Spanish influenza tears a brutal path across the United Stats, leaving devastation in its wake. Suddenly, eleven-year-old Lydia Pierce and her brother, Daniel, find themselves orphans of the flu, and are taken by their grieving uncle to be raised int he shaker community at Sabbathday Lake. Thrust into Shakers' unfamiliar way of life, Lydia, a fiercely independent girl, must grapple with a new world that is nothing like the one she used to know.
Lydia must work hard, and all the while she worries about her headstrong brother, who has run away. In time, and with her courageous spirit, Lydia learns to find joy in living with the Shakers- yet she cannot stop wondering, will Daniel ever return?
I really liked this spunky little girl from the beginning. She seems so typical and reminds me that no matter what century they are from or where they are born, little girls pretty much think the same. The story begins on Lydia's 11th birthday and she is learning that you can't always get what you want. even on your own birthday. Due to the spreading of the Spanish influenza all public buildings are being asked to close up and that includes the theatre where Lydia had planned on visiting today.
This will be the first of many unexpected changes young Lydia will have to experience. She learns to not only be more conservative but also more productive. Nothing will be easy and there is much that will change.
When tragedy strikes her own household she finds there is change all around. What is normal anymore? Where does she belong?
The epilogue is nicely written also. I love when a story gives you a little something to see farther done the road how things turn out.
Overall this was a very good JR. It teaches lessons in giving, unselfishness, heartache, loyalty and learning to adapt in unforseen circumstances.
I would fit this into the ages 9-14 age group. Depending on maturity of course. Some may find it dull.