This one is well-decorated. It took the Newbery, Scott O’Dell Award, and Kite Award in 1986—all prestigious honors. Did the book live up to its reputation? You bet it did. I LOVED this one.
Patricial MacLachlan has a sweet, eminently readable style. She makes you wish you were there on the great big American Plains and able to comfort the two young characters, Anna and Caleb, who lost their mother when Caleb was born. Their father writes away for a mail-order bride, and the woman who answers is able to fill the void left by his wife as well as carve a niche of her own the hearts of all three family members.
This was a short read, barely an hour of my time, but those brief pages are filled with more love, more discovery, more joy than many tomes. Set in approximately 1910, it is driven by characters, relationships, and interaction, not plot. Sarah is a full, huge, wonderful personality. She’s warm and eager to please, yet she’s stubborn and unafraid to maintain her habits and opinions even in someone else’s domain. It is her laughter, her song, her wonder, and her willingness to live life fully that endear her to her new family as well as to readers.
This one reminds me a great deal of Anne of Green Gables. I highly recommend it to anyone who might have missed it thirty years ago as well as to a whole new generation of readers.