The story of a young female artist's dream to leave her life on the farm. *** A beautiful, literate, history-based novel *** Concord, Massachusets, 1845. Fifteen-year-old Rachel is neglecting her farm chores in order to sketch and draw. To make money for her art supplies, she will raise hens for their eggs. But, a drought forces her father to ask for that money for the farm. Understanding his need, but miserable when he calls her life's love to draw a "little hobby," Rachel runs to Walden Pond to recover. There, she is befriended by Henry David Thoreau, who is living "an experiment" in Walden Woods. Rachel later finds out more about him from her former art teacher, who is trying to make Rachel's mother understand that her daughter's talent is special and that Rachel should study abroad. *** But just as her brother Ben's fate seems sealed to taking over the running of the family farm because their oldest brother gives up the farm for a job in in textiles, in Boston, so does Rachel's future. An upset Rachel again visits Thoreau to talk. She intrudes upon him abetting a runaway slave. During a subsequent visit, she meets Margaret Fuller, author, editor of The Transcendentalist Journal, reporter and America's first female foreign correspondent. Fuller takes samples of Rachel's art with her to New York for an opinion about a teacher. Gino Riccardi agrees to instruct Rachel by mail, until she can come to New York. *** The harvest is poor. An Irish boarder's rent enables Ben to continue school, and the learned Irishman informs the family about Ireland and Irish immigrant workers. Thoreau is jailed when he will not pay his poll tax because he believes it supports causes like the Fugitive Slave Law. Rachel's family visits her brother in Boston, and, not allowed into the factory, she contents herself with sketching a young boy warming himself by the fire in the courtyard. She is shocked by the number of children working here. *** Rachel's talent reaches new highs with the sketch of the young Simon, and Sr. Riccardi notifies her that she MUST now come to New York for instruction. Rachel wants Thoreau to intercede with Riccardi to keep her lessons coming by mail, but Thoreau instead tells her about his friends, the Emersons, in New York, who have room for her (William is Ralph Waldo's brother). Their conversation is interrupted with shouts of Ben falling into frozen Walden Pond while ice fishing.. Thoreau rushes out to save him. *** With the family now in debt to Thoreau for their son's life, he accepts their thanks in terms of Rachel's being alowed to study art in New York, and the portrait of Simon for his walls. *** In the Spring, Rachel says goodbye to Thoreau and her beloved woods; he too prepares to leave Walden.
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Used availability for Anne G Faigen's Finding Her Way
December 1997 : USA Paperback