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At the Sign of the Star

by Katherine Sturtevant

Published by Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2000
140 pages
ISBN: 0-374-30449-1

Ages 11 - 14

As a bookseller's only child, young Meg looks forward to inheriting her father's shop one day. She imagines a life of rubbing elbows with writers and lively conversations with fellow readers. But she sees her future slip away when her father remarries a woman with whom he is certain to have a male heir. As a young woman in 17th century England, Meg now foresees a bleak future of marriage and drudgery. She takes out all of her anger and frustration on her father's new wife, Susannah, by making her life as difficult as she possibly can, even though there are subtle hints that Meg might find in Susannah a kindred spirit, if she would give her a chance. Finally, Susannah takes Meg to a new play by Aphra Behn, a woman playwright whose example holds a new kind of hope for Meg. Katherine Sturtevant's first novel for children has splendid three-dimensional characters, realistically developed in the context of their times. An author's note at the end of the book gives a biography of the real Aphra Behn and other women writers of the era and discusses some of the books used by the author in her historical research. CCBC categories: Fiction for Children; The Arts; Historical People, Places, and Events. (KTH; Feb. 5) 2001 Cooperative Children's Book Center

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