Uncertain Glory by Lea Wait
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Uncertain Glory is the story of Joe Wood, a thirteen-year-old boy who publishes his own newspaper in the little town of Wiscasset, Maine in 1861. Joe has help from his friend Charlie, and a younger African-American boy named Owen. At the start of the Civil War, Joe has almost more business than he can handle with the war news and the arrival in town of a young spiritualist, Nell, who claims she can speak with the dead. Joe and Charlie suspect Nell is a fraud, but when Owen goes missing, Joe seeks Nell’s help to find him.
This is a quick, exciting, well-researched read (based upon actual, real people), and the author does an excellent job of layering in the historical detail needed to understand the story without resorting to info dumps or awkward dialogue exchanges. I especially enjoyed the spiritualism aspect of the story, and loved trying to guess for myself whether Nell was legitimately speaking with the spirits, or duping the entire town. The book also briefly touches on racism as it existed in mid-nineteenth-century Maine, which is a great addition that really rounds out Owen’s character.
Also, did I mention how gorgeous this book is? Hardcover, with lovely art on the dust jacket, and maps inside both the front and back covers (maps! I’m such a nerd for a good map.). In fact, it’s so beautiful that I’d love to share this book with someone else, and so…look below to enter a giveaway for it! (US and Canadian shipping addresses only, please.)
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