||Beaver Meadow Publishing
A young boy in the 1890s must go live on the Adirondack Mountain farm of his paternal grandparents--grandparents estranged from his widowed mother. He strives to forge a bond with his embittered grandfather and revive the family's maple syrup business.
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"Adirondack Gold" was published in 2003 by Beaver Meadow Publishing, and "The Adirondack Gold Teacher's Guide" is available for teachers using the novel in the classroom. Although the major purpose of this book is to tell an engaging and heartwarming tale, readers will also gain insight into life in rural Adirondack communities in the late 1800s--the work required to live well, the need for a community that worked together, and the strong work ethic that drove the families.
If only his father were here. It seemed foolish to think of that.
He hardly remembered his father. There was just a faint recollection
of golden sunlight and warm laughter, of strong hands lifting
him high in the air, of the rich smell of pine sawdust. He should be
here. The unfairness of it all released another flood of silent tears,
tears that floated Hollis into a troubled, dream-torn sleep.
In his dream he was back at the tannery, only it wasn’t Burhans,
Gray & Co. It was another tannery, one he had never seen, only
heard about. There was something awful here, and he felt deep
dread. He wanted to run away, but a terrible force pulled him in,
drawing him down between the seemingly endless rows of bark
piles toward the one place he most didn’t want to go, to the barkgrinding
shed. Now he heard a voice calling to him. “Hollis!” The
voice drew him forward.
In his dream he heard the voice again. “Hollis, help me!” It was
his father’s voice. He knew that, even though he couldn’t remember
his father’s voice. He must go to him, but his feet were leaden.
He saw a hand––his father’s hand—outstretched toward him,
reaching from the shadows of the shed. “Hollis!”
Hollis tried to reach out to the hand, but his arms wouldn’t
move. He saw then that they were bound to his sides mummy-fashion,
wrapped snugly with long white starched apron ties.
Frantically he inched his way closer to the hand until he could wrap
his fingers around it. Grasping the hand as hard as he could, he
began to pull. With horror he felt it squish and crumble in his grip
as he wrenched it from the sleeve in the blackness of the shed. He
“Hollis!” This time it was Ma’s voice.
“Ma! Help!” he gasped.
Persis Granger is a master of historical fiction and Adirondack Gold is a prime example. Her realistic characters make her books come alive with realism and energy. Her writing talent puts you right in the center of each heart-warming and heart-throbbing situation.
Young Hollis Ingraham is forced by economic plight to leave his mother and to go live with his practically unknown grandparents. Hollis barely remembers the grandmother and grandfather that he met only once as a baby. He was also too young to remember his loving father who died suddenly in a tanning fire accident.
Hollis was sure his heart would break when his mother was forced to send him away. No longer able to pay their rent and buy food for herself and her young son, she broke the news to Hollis that he must go to live with his grandparents while she went to live and work at the towns nearby hotel. The ache in her own heart matched the ache that caused her son’s eyes to fill with tears at the thought of going away alone to live with strangers.
Gibby Goodnow, a dear friend of the Ingraham family and especially close friend of Hollis’ father and mother, came by oxen and wagon to pick up the boy and transport him from his home in Warrensburg to his grandparent’s home in the shadow of Crane Mountain. Gibby became the first ray of sunshine to brighten the lonely young boy’s world. Friendly and out-going he kept the boy smiling most of the way on their journey to Thurman.
Hollis’ first week in his grandparent’s home proved to be uncomfortable to say the least. Although his grandmother was loving and kind, his grandfather proved to be a bit of an enigma.
Quiet and surly the old man soon earned the nickname from Hollis as Sour Man. Frowning more often than not, the old man had very little to say to his grandson.
Hollis was determined to learn the truth about the secret that lay hidden in the rift between his parents, especially his mother, and his grandparents. For some unknown reason Hollis’ grandparents blamed his mother for something that came between his father and his father’s parents. Could they blame his mother for his father’s death? Hollis didn’t know the answer, but he knew he had to know the truth.
Working hard on the farm, Hollis slowly ingratiates his way into the hearts of his grandparents.
And as the weeks go by he struggles to formulate a plan to earn the money that will help his mother get herself out of the financial bind that is keeping them apart.
Young Hollis soon discovers that making money is no easy feat in a world where money is not something anyone has much use for. Most staples are homegrown and homemade by all the people of the community. So when his new school friends tell him the tale of gold hidden somewhere in a cave on Crane Mountain, Hollis embarks on a dangerous mission to find that gold and save his mother.
Adirondack Gold is one book that can be enjoyed by young and old alike. It has something for everyone and would be a welcome addition to any bookcase. Join in this heartwarming adventure and saga of one young boy’s life in the early years of Thurman, NY.
Reviewer: Sandra E. Graham, author Amos Jakey and Nicolina Published by American Book Publishing. Visit my website: http://www.sandragraham-articles-books.com to learn more about my writing.
Adirondack Gold - John Rowen
Excerpts from Review:
“Granger’s writing, vivid and full of verve, is in a league with theirs [Jeanne Robert Foster, Paul Schaefer, Sue Halpern and Bill McKibben]. She has the storyteller’s knack of pulling the reader into the story. She develops strong characters and captures the essence of Adirondack places. … Even though “Adirondack Gold” was written for young adults, it transcends its genre. Strong writing and research makes it highly recommended for readers of any age who are interested in the Adirondacks, 19th-century New York history or rural life.”
Review by John Rowen, published in the Schenectady Gazette, March 2004
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