Book Review: Daughters of the Sea #1: Hannah
Gather 'round, readers, and let me tell you a story.
There once was a young orphan girl named Hannah who, upon turning 15, was assigned to work on a farm in Kansas. As she traveled from the Boston orphanage to the wide pastures of the farmland, the strangest things began happening: she began shedding her skin like a snake, leaving behind crystalline rocks of salt in her wake. The condition was so perplexing that she was sent back to Boston.
It was the turn of the 20th century, and Hannah was then assigned to suitable employment as a scullery maid at one of the grandest houses in Boston. She tried to fit in, to disappear, as her job duties required. But she felt a longing for something greater, a longing she couldn't name except when she caught a rare glimpse of the ocean. Through the drudgery of the day-to-day work, through tiptoeing around the issues of the house's eldest daughter (not to mention her strange, sinister cat), through the unexpected connection with a famous painter employed by the master of the house, Hannah felt the sea calling to her. And soon, after she and the servant staff were sent to a remote island in Maine for the summer season, she began answering its calls, and the life-changing secret of her existence was revealed.
Daughters of the Sea: Hannah, by Kathryn Lasky, is a gorgeously written and completely captivating book for ages 12 and up. From its beautiful cover to its intriguing premise (“The tide is turning,” warns the back cover), I was immediately taken with Hannah's journey and found myself anxiously flipping through the pages to discover what would happen. While I guessed the truth about Hannah fairly early in the book (I won't ruin it here!), I had to keep reading to find out how the painter, the cat, and the rich eldest daughter all tied into the premise. And I'm glad I did; the book really picks up in pace once Hannah relocates to the cottage in Maine, and the descriptions of the island and the sea made me long for a turn-of-the-century New England summer of my own.
So tell me, commenters, does Daughters of the Sea: Hannah sound like something you’d like to read? Let me know in the comments!
—Morgan, Scholastic Staffer