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The Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming by…
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The Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming

by J. Anderson Coats

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With both her parents dead and a stepmother who can be a harsh taskmaster, Jane is thrilled by the opportunity to move out west to the new Washington territory. Here she hopes to finally finish her education and for her stepmother to get her wish of re-marrying so she no longer has to work outside the home. But nothing seems to go to plan, even from the beginning of their long boat trip around South America and to the other side of North America.

This was a very interesting and compelling read. Typically, I am not the hugest fan of historical fiction, especially when it's an event that you know how it ends. In this case, Coats kept throwing in monkey wrenches so that I did not know where the book was going. The characters were well done and felt realistic.

It appears that Coats did her research and faithfully re-created the time and setting (to the best of my knowledge, which is albeit limited). She also did a good job of describing how things were done without being bogged down by too many details of every meal eaten and every step the characters take. (This is a criticism I have of some historical fiction books, in which the author clearly did the research but doesn't do a great job of distilling it down so that the main story doesn't get lost in the nitty-gritty.)

While the book does tackle some weighty subjects (death, poverty, etc.), it manages to stay overall upbeat. Positive messages about perseverance and grit abound. The main character learns many life lessons without the book seeming didactic.

I would recommend this title for middle grade readers (and even adults), especially for fans of historical fiction. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Jan 30, 2019 |
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"Jane is excited to be part of Mr. Mercer's expedition to bring orphans and Civil War widows to Washington Territory, but life out west isn't at all what she expected"--

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