Booklist is a publication of the American Library Association and the thing about them is that they don’t review books they don’t like. So just getting a booklist review is a good thing! Here’s their take on Rory’s Promise:
MacColl and Nichols team up for the first title in the new Hidden Histories series, which spotlights lesserknown
historical moments. Twelve-year-old Rory Fitzpatrick’s life at New York City’s Foundling
Hospital is upended when her younger sister, Violet, is set to be adopted in Clifton, a town in the Arizona
Territory. Unbeknownst to the nuns in charge, Rory sneaks onto an orphan train to stick with her sister.
Upon arrival in the mining town, they are thrust into an ongoing disagreement between the wealthier
Anglo women and their intended adoptive parents, Mexican Catholics. Though the pace sometimes slows
thanks to the dry narrative style, intrepid Rory is a likable protagonist with determination and heart, all of
which will endear her to readers. Multifaceted adult characters drawn from history, especially Sister Anna,
bring to life the complex dynamics in Clifton at the turn of the century. Extensive back matter provides
further historical context and lesson tie-ins. Pair with Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train (2013) for an
even more comprehensive look at this part of American history.
— Jennifer Barnes