Emily’s Fortune by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2010)

July 6, 2010 at 4:06 pm Leave a comment

The quiet and shy, eight year old Emily Wiggins becomes an orphan, after her mother is accidentally killed in a carriage crash with her employer, the very wealthy Miss Nash.  Her evil Uncle Victor is next of kin, and wants custody.  The unscrupulous Catchem Child-Catching Services is looking for her too.  Her lovely Aunt Hilda sends word for Emily to come and live with her on her farm in Redbud.  She is only related by marriage, but wants to share what little she has with her niece.  Her neighbors and guideposts, Mrs. Ready, Mrs. Aim and Mrs. Fire pack Emily up with her turtle, Rufus, and send them off to Redbud.  A several day journey by train and stagecoach ensues and is filled with obstacles.  Fortunately, she befriends Jackson, another orphan with the street-smarts and the confidence Emily lacks, who is also on the run from Catchem.  Half way through her trip Emily learns she is the one who will inherit Miss Nash’s fortune.  Most chapters end in cliffhangers and tension rises rapidly to the conclusion. This 1850’s, west coast adventure takes many wild twists and turns.  Will Emily and Jackson reach Redbud before Uncle Victor?  Can Emily develop the courage she needs in the face of danger?  How will the kind-hearted, Aunt Hilda convince the authorities that she should have custody of Emily instead of Uncle Victor?  Line art illustrations enhance the suspenseful text.

A great page-turner.  Ages 9-12

J R* — Anne Beier  (Hendrick Hudson Free Library)

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