School Library Journal/February 2015
“A page-turner that satisfies.”—School Library Journal
Readers are immediately drawn into Louisa’s 19th-century world as her mother departs for work in the city and Louisa discovers a runaway slave, named George, hiding outside the Alcott home. The teen capably manages the various conflicts in the novel: money struggles, her relationship with her father, George’s safety, and romantic tensions between her and her distant cousin, Fred. Unsavory characters like Fitch, who is a slave catcher, and a disreputable woman named Miss Whittington, bring additional tension to this plot-driven novel. As she did with Always Emily (Chronicle, 2014), MacColl creates a strong sense of place, both in time and with her presentation of the physical environment. Her fluid incorporation of the transcendentalists and their movement aligns well with her attention to the novel’s setting. Although conflict and intrigue ensue, with protecting George and solving a murder, Louisa’s character unfortunately remains static. VERDICT Though light on character development, MacColl has created a page-turner that satisfies.