I love "what if" novels.
You know what I mean? They take an historical event and add a what
if something else happened. In this case, Rinaldi looks at the life
of Fletcher Christian. Can anyone tell me who Fletcher Christian
was? Right. He was the second-in-command aboard the ship Bounty.
When the ship landed in Tahiti, many of the men decided they did not want
to return to England. That, along with other circumstances, led young
Fletcher Christian to lead the mutiny. This was a real event and
the story has been retold in books and movies. Well, this book takes
the position that Christian and his island wife had a child while living
in exile on Pitcairn Island. Christian has secretly brought the girl
to England years before and she is now living with her uncle who everyone
believes is her father. Now on her way to boarding school, Mary longs
to see her real father again and to stop living the lie.
This historical novel is based
on the premise: What if Fletcher Christian, the lead mutineer of the HMS
Bounty returned to England with his five-year-old, half-Tahitian daughter,
Mary? The story actually begins nine years later, as Mary, forced by her
family, begins life in a fashionable girls’ school in London . Mary
is forced to hide the secret of whom her father is, and a fellow student
threatens to expose her secrets to the English society. Mary secretly hopes
that her father is truly alive and is thrown into many life-threatening
episodes in her search for the truth. The author provides a combination
of fact and fiction in this 19th century English setting that intrigues
the reader to join Mary in her quest for the truth. What really happened
on the HMS Bounty? Is Mary’s father a ruthless pirate roaming the oceans?
Is Mary’s father really alive? Is he nearby, watching over Mary? Will she
meet him? Who are her friends? Who are her enemies? (Prepared by: Linda
SCASL Junior Book Awards)