The year is 1861. Civil war is imminent and Tilly Pruitt's brother, Noah, is eager to go and fight on the side of the North. With her father long gone, Tilly, her sister, and their mother struggle to make ends meet and hold the dwindling Pruitt family together. Then one night a mysterious girl arrives on a steamboat bound for St. Louis. Delphine is unlike anyone the small river town has even seen. Mrs. Pruitt agrees to take Delphine and her dark, silent traveling companion in as boarders. No one in town knows what to make of the two strangers, and so the rumors fly. Is Delphine's companion a slave? Could they be spies for the South? Are the Pruitts traitors? A masterful tale of mystery and war, and a breathtaking portrait of the lifelong impact one person can have on another.
It's a riveting story that shows racism everywhere and young people facing war, not sure what side to be on or why. (Booklist, starred review)
Peck reaches new depth with this Civil War-era novel. . . (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
A rich tale full of magic, mystery, and surprise. (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)
Historical fiction fans should enter this at the top of the must-read list. (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review)
The harsh realities of war are brutally related in a complex, always surprising plot that resonates on multiple levels. (he Horn Book, starred review)
This unusual Civil War novel really boosts Peck's credentials as America's best living author for young adults. (The Washington Post)
Unforgettable characters and handsome prose make this book one you won't want to miss. (Children's Literature)