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Holm, Jennifer L.
New York : HarperCollins, 2001.
IL 5-8, RL 8.2
ISBN 006028739X

(5 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

"Papa always said you make your own luck. But after being seasick for 5 months, 2 weeks and 6 days, I felt certain that luck had nothing to do with anything aboard the 'Lady Luck', a poorly named vessel if ever there was one. I had just spent the morning of my 16th birthday puking into a bucket, and I had little hope that the day would improve. I had no doubt that I was the unluckiest young lady in the world."

Jane Peck is on her way to the Oregon Territory in the year 1854. She is engaged to marry William Baldt who was an apprentice to her father and has homesteaded in the Pacific Northwest. Jane is a graduate of Miss Hepplewhite's Young Ladies Academy in Philadelphia and nothing she learned there has prepared her for this trip. She was taught how to keep her composure, dress plainly and pack lightly, and not let little irritations sway her cheery nature! She should have learned how to kill fleas, avoid rats, bathe with seawater and avoid being seasick!

When Jane reaches Washington Territory she expects William to meet her and is shocked to discover that he is not there. Her traveling companion died on the voyage and she is forced to accept the hospitality of a group of flea-bitten men. Jane desperately looks for William to rescue her but in the meantime she must survive on her own.  (by Sally Grant of the Whatcom County Library System for Evergreen Young Adult Book Award, 2003-2004.)

Booktalk #2

It's 1849 in Philadelphia and 11-year-old Miss Jane Peck is a tomboy until she meets William, a medical student.  Jane enrolls in Miss Hepplewhite's Young Ladies Academy to learn how to be a lady.  She studies etiquette, embroidery, watercolors, music, management of servants and conversational French.  Four years later, William and Jane become engaged.  William goes west to Shoalwater Bay in Washington Territory and sends for Jane but when she gets there, William is off on an expedition.  Jane is left alone among the Chinook Indians and some flea-bitten traders.  She finds out the hard way that her schooling at the Young Ladies Academy is useless on the frontier.  Why is she called Boston Jane if she comes from Philadelphia, will William ever return and marry Jane and how does Jane survive in the wilderness frontier among strangers?  Read Boston Jane : An Adventure to find out what happens.  (New Hampshire Great Stone Face Committee)

Booktalk #3

When the story begins, tomboy Jane is growing up in the Philadelphia of the 1840's. Teased about her behavior by William, her father's apprentice whom she adores, she decides to attend Miss Hepplewhite's Young Ladies Academy. When she is sixteen, William, who has moved to the northwest frontier, writes and proposes to her. Jane undertakes the long sea journey and finally arrives on the rugged West Coast, only to find William is not there. In order to survive Jane must shed her finishing school ideas and learn how to live in the wilderness. The story is told with much humor and the reader learns many details about the absurdity of society's rules, especially as they apply to life on an untamed frontier. Will Jane ever find her William? Is he really the man for her? This is a truly exciting and very funny story!  (Jean B. Bellavance for Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards, 2003-2004)

Booktalk #4

Eleven year old Jane is somewhat of a wild child.  Growing up in Philadelphia in the 1850s, Jane loved to play on the streets and toss manure at passing carriages.  She also loved to help her father with his medical practice.  When handsome William Brandt came to stay with them and apprentice with her father, her priorities began to change.  William convinced Jane that she should strive to become a proper lady.  Enrollment in Miss Hepplewhite's Young Ladies Academy pleases William but not her father.  When William leaves to try his luck at the timber trade in Washington Territory, Jane wishes she can go with him.  But what could a proper young lady ever do in the wilderness?  When William writes to her asking her to join him and become his wife, she has to decide whether to give up her proper Philadelphia life for the uncertainty of living among the savages in the frontier.  Follow Jane as she finds that you cannot learn everything in books.

Booktalk #5

Sixteen-year-old Jane Peck decides to leave her Philadelphia home to head to the Pacific Northwest. William Baldt, her childhood fascination has asked her to marry him.  After years at Mrs. Hepplewhites Young Ladies Academy, Jane is well prepared for the world. After all, she was one of the best students and won first place in cross-stitch.
                    Will this be enough to prepare her for her arrival? What will Jane do once she arrives and discovers William isn't there? (Catherine Ryan,

SUBJECTS:     Self perception -- Fiction.
                        Etiquette -- Fiction.
                        Chinook Indians -- Fiction.
                        Indians of North America -- Washington (State) -- Fiction.
                        Frontier and pioneer life -- Washington (State) -- Fiction.
                        Washington (State) -- History  -- Fiction.


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