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Hazel by Julie Hearn

Hazel (edition 2007)

by Julie Hearn

Series: Ivy - Julie Hearn (2)

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854247,829 (3.09)2
Thirteen-year-old Hazel leaves her comfortable, if somewhat unconventional, London home in 1913 after her father has a breakdown, and goes to live in the Caribbean on her grandparents' sugar plantation where she discovers some shocking family secrets.
Authors:Julie Hearn
Info:Oxford University Press (2007), Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library

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Hazel by Julie Hearn

  1. 00
    When Daylight Comes by Ellen Howard (Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: When Daylight Comes is the story of a young girl caught up in a slave rebellion in the Virgin Islands in the 18th century. Hazel (among other things) must come to terms with the misery caused by her family's sugar plantation and the aftermath of slavery in the early 20th century.… (more)

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Im half way through the book but I like its really exciting! I love this book because you never know whats going to happen next.I think this would be a great read for anyone aged 12-14. ( )
  Meegan | Sep 1, 2010 |
Hazel lives a life of privilege in England until her father has a breakdown over finances. She then is sent to live with her grandparents in the Caribbean Islands. While in England she gets caught up in the fight for the vote for women, and in the Islands she becomes aware of the injustices to blacks there. There's a lot going on in the book, perhaps a bit too much, but it has some interesting historical information. ( )
  ChristianR | Jul 31, 2010 |
Hazel Louise Mull-Dare has always been a pampered Daddy's girl. But when she witnesses a suffragette throw herself in front of the king's horse at the Epsom Derby to draw attention to her cause, Hazel begins to yearn to break out of the mold of the sweet naive girl who would never do anything her father disapproves of and to take action. The family's straitened circumstances and need for propriety lead to Hazel's 'banishment' to her grandfather's sugar plantation in the Caribbean - where she must confront even more family secrets.

My Thoughts:
Hazel is definitely not a simple escapist read - rather it is a historical novel that deals with burgeoning political awareness, votes for women, depression, gambling addiction, slavery and its aftermath, adolescent rebellion and betrayal. In short, Hazel is a realistic snapshot of the many pressures and influences an actual teenager of her time might have faced. She's not just a character with some fleshing out to capture the reader's attention - she's a full-fledged person The novel is more of a character study than a plot-driven story, and its weakest points tend to be those that rely on external plot for tension (such as the hurricane).

Hazel is an interesting contrast. The first half of the book focuses on Hazel's membership in a class of the oppressed. She gradually realizes how much society's polite strictures are meant to keep women powerless and docile, and she rebels out of desire for greater autonomy for herself and others. After she takes action, she is sent to her family's sugar plantation and must come to grips with being a member of the oppressors. She gradually awakens from her naivete to appreciate (to a degree) the hardships and continuing injustice the former slaves face on the island. She sees first-hand some of the prejudice they encounter, and she also must deal with hostility from the house-servants because of who her family is, and her own skin tone.

I found the treatment of racism and the after-effects of slavery interesting, though I was a bit annoyed at how the thread was introduced into the narrative. While the plantation workers certainly had ample reason for resentment against the Mull-Dare/Moulder family, I wasn't convinced that hostile messages to a 13-year-old girl holding her vicariously responsible for the sins of her family would lead to the kind of acceptance and acknowledgment Hazel demonstrates after her initial bewilderment. I've never thought hostility and blame were particularly effective didactic tools. Aside from my disbelief regarding how the message was brought across, it was good to see Hazel overcome her ignorance and blind naivete.

More at A Hoyden's Look at Literature. ( )
2 vote Caramellunacy | Feb 14, 2010 |
The sequel to Ivy (actually it's Ivy: the Next Generation) It's an interesting story set in 1913, just before the war and England is a fairly Victorian world. Hazel is in a small school for young ladies and she's being taught to be a wife, to expect that she should marry well. She knows little about her mother's past.

Her world changes when a sufragette steps out in front of the King's horse, dying later from her injuries. Hazel's father had a lot of money riding on that horse and now things have to change. She will have to get married to a wealthy man, particularly as her father is broken by the events. She gets sucked into action by one of her classmates that means that she's sent to her father's parents in the Caribbean to learn to be a proper "lady". There she finds truths that's she not prepared for and this changes her again.

It's an interesting coming-of-age story with some very interesting subtexts that make it quite complex on one level and somewhat over-stated on others. ( )
3 vote wyvernfriend | Dec 5, 2007 |
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Thirteen-year-old Hazel leaves her comfortable, if somewhat unconventional, London home in 1913 after her father has a breakdown, and goes to live in the Caribbean on her grandparents' sugar plantation where she discovers some shocking family secrets.

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