Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Faithful (YA)

Faithful. Janet Fox. 2010. Penguin. 336 pages.

The trail was too crowded for a hard ride. Too groomed, too manicured. I wished I could fly, could gallop away from my raging confusion, but I couldn't give Ghost my crop and set him off at a canter. I urged him into a fast trot instead and even then I saw it in the faces we passed: the raised eyebrows, the surprise, the disapproval. Disapproval draped over me like a funeral crepe.

Maggie Bennet, our heroine, is miserable. She's miserable in Newport where our story begins. She's miserable on her journey west with her father. She's miserable in Yellowstone where her journey ends. For this "surprise" vacation brings with it devastating news: there will be no going back. For her father is ruined. The money is gone. Their home, their belongings, their horses--all sold. Why is her father ruined? Well, he's not gotten over his wife's scandalous life and death. The truth is neither has Maggie. Both harbor hope that she is alive--somewhere. It is this hopeful little lie that makes Maggie agree to the trip West in the first place. But. Yellowstone doesn't bring Maggie's mother back to her. It does hold a secret or two about her mother's past though...

Maggie is on a journey of self-discovery. As she explores her new surroundings, she begins to contemplate her life in a new way. She considers that perhaps some things are more important than money, than social standing, than having the best of everything. She realizes that maybe happiness can't be bought. Maybe love is better than money.

What lessons can Maggie learn from her mother's past? Can she make peace with her troubled mother? Can she finally come to understand her at last?

Faithful is historical fiction; it's set in 1904.

I liked Faithful. But Maggie wasn't always the easiest heroine to like. A bit selfish. A bit spoiled. At least in the beginning. Of course, if she didn't have some flaws, she wouldn't be believable. It was easy to sympathize with her--in many ways. With her father, suitor, and grandfather all trying to "manage" her life for her. With everyone trying to have a say as to how she should live her life. It's easy to see how frustrating that could be!

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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