I've now finished the final two installments in this series and I really enjoyed them. I'm still going to wait until my girls are a little older before letting them read the set. I might let The Professor read them now if he's interested.
In the second book, Boston Jane: Wilderness Days, there's a bit of a regression on Jane's part. She spends some time off in the wilderness pouting and petulant mostly due to the presence of Mrs. Frink who seems to naturally command respect and courtesy from the hardened frontiersmen, something Jane has had to work very hard to earn even a bit of. She does some growing up on the journey and comes to a better understanding of herself and those who love her. Because my daughters are a little bit more sensitive than the average 9-11 years old they probably wouldn't care for the ghost stories and accounts of grizzly murders, but I don't see why older children who have a good sense of adventure would be bothered by them. There isn't anything graphic to be worried about. The love story continues, of course, but it is all very chaste and sweet.
The third book, Boston Jane: The Claim, was harder to read, not because it wasn't enjoyable, but because the "mean girl" dynamic is very dominate and that's a theme that disturbs me personally. Ms. Holm's writing was just too good, it felt too real and was a little too painful to read. I forgot to mention that this theme shows up in the first book as well, but for some reason, Jane's rise to overcome it, albeit in a way that ultimately is not much help to her, made it easier to swallow. In this story, the mean girl seems to be destroying all that Jane has worked so hard for and while the reader is rooting for a happy ending, history has already been written and it's hard to tell which way Ms. Holm is going to go until she gets there.
All in all, I would recommend this series (for teens and up). In the back of the books, you can read a little about the real life historical figures and happenings that Ms. Holm based some of her characters and plot points on which could inspire a wonderful history rabbit trail. Regarding my concern about feminist agendas showing up in modern stories, I must say that I couldn't detect anything of the kind. In the final book, Jane is insistent that she doesn't want to marry a man just for the extra land they could claim but rather, she wants to marry a man who loves her for her. Nothing to argue with there!
You can read my thoughts of the the first book in the series here.
Thanks, for the reviews on this, Charlotte. I think I'm going to wait till the girls are a wee bit older.ReplyDelete
BTW - You do a great book review!