Synopses & Reviews
For Cleo Berry, the people dying of the Spanish Influenza in cities like New York and Philadelphia may as well be in another country—that's how far away they feel from the safety of Portland, Oregon. And then cases start being reported in the Pacific Northwest. Schools, churches, and theaters shut down. The entire city is thrust into survival mode—and into a panic. Headstrong and foolish, seventeen-year-old Cleo is determined to ride out the pandemic in the comfort of her own home, rather than in her quarantined boarding school dorms. But when the Red Cross pleads for volunteers, she can't ignore the call. As Cleo struggles to navigate the world around her, she is surprised by how much she finds herself caring about near-strangers. Strangers like Edmund, a handsome medical student and war vet. Strangers who could be gone tomorrow. And as the bodies begin to pile up, Cleo can't help but wonder: when will her own luck run out?
Riveting and well-researched, A Death-Struck Year is based on the real-life pandemic considered the most devastating in recorded world history. Readers will be captured by the suspenseful storytelling and the lingering questions of: what would I do for a neighbor? At what risk to myself?
An afterword explains the Spanish flu phenomenon, placing it within the historical context of the early 20th century. Source notes are extensive and interesting.
A Spring 2014 Indies Introduce New Voices selection
"In this unusual romance, first published in the U.K., debut author Eagland takes readers inside an insane asylum for women in the 19th century. The opening pages plod through 17-year-old Louisa Cosgrove's early days of incarceration and flashbacks that reveal little more than her fascination with both medicine and her lovely cousin, Grace. The story picks up, though, when it becomes apparent that Louisa is in love with Grace, and both Louisa and readers begin to wonder exactly why she was committed and who committed her. Eagland conveys the atrocities and filth of the asylum with shocking vividness: 'e're allowed to go to the washroom... but it's a damp, dark place with cockroaches scuttling.... and only one grimy, frayed towel between us.' The author tenderly and expertly builds a romance between Louisa and an attendant, Eliza ('I close my eyes, breathing in her warmth, her familiar almond scent and my thoughts fly like birds'). The surprisingly happy ending--in which Louisa escapes and confronts her accusers--is a welcome relief after all of her angst and despair. Ages 14 up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Louisa and Eliza provide a window into a shameful history of mental health care and women's incarceration that only ended in living memory."—Kirkus Reviews
"The author tenderly and expertly builds a romance between Louisa and an attendant, Eliza . . . The surprisingly happy ending—in which Louisa escapes and confronts her accusers—is a welcome relief after all of her angst and despair."—Publishers Weekly
"Eagland does a beautiful job of depicting the "real" Louisa in the end, with an unusual twist on the conventional romantic denouement. Teens will identify with her."—School Library Journal
"Fans of historical fiction or GLBTQ fiction will likely enjoy this unique story of mystery and romance."—VOYA
"Readers will be swept up in the story as Cleo builds friendships and manages to find hope amid disease and death."—Kirkus
"Highly sympathetic characters, a solid sense of place, and the transformation of a city under siege by an invisible assailant result in a powerful and disturbing reading experience."
"Lucier has done her research, creating a compelling work of historical fiction alongside a more timeless journey of self-discovery."—Bulletin
* "The novel's strong voice intimately places readers directly into the dramatic plot right up to climactic ending. . . . Lucier's novel deserves a place in all high school collections."
—School Library Journal, starred review
"Lucier's debut details Cleo's loss of innocence, as she deals with gruesome deaths and emergency surgeries...supplying readers with a broad understanding of the era and the epidemic via a spirited and easy-to-relate-to protagonist."
"A rare window into another time and place, one that invites readers to draw parallels to their own lives in contemporary times."
—Horn Book Magazine
Praise for The Springsweet:
"A lovely historical romance. . . . The author conjures a convincing picture of life on the Oklahoma prairie, painting an absorbing portrait of the landscape and of the people there. . . . A high-quality, absorbing drama."—Kirkus Reviews
will steal your heart. Zora is a wounded heroine who had me cheering as she rediscovers the strength she thought she'd lost. Blend in a smoldering, yet refreshingly subtle hero, and add a twist of magic and you have a perfect romance in the Old West with another of Saundra Mitchell's signature rich and nuanced historic settings!"—Aprilynne Pike, New York Times
bestselling author of Wings
"I didn't think YA historicals could get better than The Vespertine
. The Springsweet
proved me wrong. This is a gorgeous, unputdownable book that will stay with you long after it's through. Saundra Mitchell just gets better and better."—Sarah MacLean, NYT and USA Today bestselling Author of Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake
and Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord
"With Saundra Mitchells trademark evocative and gorgeous language, The Springsweet takes us across the plains, where the people thirst for love just as the land thirsts for water. I never wanted this book to end!"—Carrie Ryan, New York Times
best-selling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth series Praise for The Vespertine:
"[A] richly conceived historical romance. . . . Fans of Libba Brays A Great and Terrible Beauty
will find themselves enchanted by this atmospheric tale."—Bulletin
"Equal parts vivid period detail, gothic melodrama, and foreboding premonitions coming true . . . an absorbing tale."—Booklist
"Written in a passionate, inviting voice, The Vespertine is a rich, historical novel of otherworldly power, forbidden romance, and questionable motives."
—Aprilynne Pike, New York Times Bestselling Author of Wings and Spells "Sheer pleasure from beginning to end."—TeenReads.com "I savored every word of The Vespertine; I knew it was an amazing book from the first page and I was entranced until the very last."—Carrie Ryan, New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth series Praise for The Elementals: "In The Elementals the worlds of The Vespertine and The Springsweet collide with glass-brittle hopes and devastating consequences. The children of the supernatural must learn what their parents have long known, that even the most innocent magic demands a cost. A sumptuous read, as bittersweet as it is beautiful."—Aprilynne Pike, New York Times bestselling author of Wings and Spells "Saundra Mitchell pulls off a thrilling conclusion to a mesmerizing series! She just gets better and better!"—Carrie Ryan, New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth series "Mitchell convincingly portrays the glittering, raucous L.A. of the burgeoning movie industry and the oppressive unease of looming war."—Booklist
They strip her naked, of everything—undo her whalebone corset, hook by hook. Locked away in Wildthorn Hall—a madhouse—they take her identity. She is now called Lucy Childs. She has no one; she has nothing. But, she is still seventeen—still Louisa Cosgrove, isn't she? Who has done this unthinkable deed? Louisa must free herself, in more ways than one, and muster up the courage to be her true self, all the while solving her own twisted mystery and falling into an unconventional love . . .
Originally published in the UK, this well-paced, provocative romance pushes on boundaries—both literal and figurative—and, do beware: it will bind you, too.
Dark secrets and deep betrayals haunt a young woman who is locked away in Wildthorn Hall--a madhouse--in Victorian England.
Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove has never enjoyed the life of the pampered, protected life girls of wealth were expected to follow in nineteenth century England. It was too confining. She would have much rather been like her older brother, allowed to play marbles, go to school, become a doctor. But little does she know how far her family would go to kill her dreams and desires. Until one day she finds herself locked away in an insane asylum and everyone--the doctors and nurses--insist on calling her Lucy Childs, not Louisa Cosgrove.
Surely this is a mistake. Surely her family will rescue her from this horrible, disgusting place. But as she unravels the mystery, she discovers those are the very people she can't trust. So who can she? There's one person--Eliza. As their love grows, Louisa realizes treachery locked her away. Love is the key to freedom.
A deadly pandemic, a budding romance, and the heartache of loss make for a stunning coming-of-age teen debut about the struggle to survive during the 1918 flu.
A stirring historical paranormal romance, and companion to The Vespertine, featuring a spirited young woman as she sets out on her own to find new love, a new home, and her extraordinary magical power—and experiences all the joys and hardships of pioneer life.
Heartbroken over the tragic death of her fiancé, seventeen-year-old Zora Stewart leaves
Baltimore for the frontier town of West Glory, Oklahoma, to help her young widowed
aunt keep her homestead going. There she discovers that she possesses the astonishing
ability to sense water under the parched earth. When her aunt hires her out as a
“springsweet” to advise other settlers where to dig their wells, Zora feels the burden of
holding the key to something so essential to survival in this unforgiving land.
Even more, she finds herself longing for love the way the prairie thirsts for water.
Maybe, in the wildness of the territories, Zora can finally move beyond simply surviving
and start living.
About the Author
Born in Essex, Jane Eagland taught English in secondary schools for many years. After doing an MA in creative writing, she now divides her time between writing and tutoring. Wildthorn is her first novel, inspired by true stories of women who were incarcerated in asylums in the nineteenth century. Jane lives in Lancashire, England, in a house with a view of the fells.