Wednesday, September 9, 2009

ON VINEY'S MOUNTAIN by Joan Donaldson Blog Entry by Carol Riley Cain, PHS English Teacher

by Joan Donaldson
Blog Post: Carol Riley Cain, PHS English Teacher
AR: Not Yet
Interest Level: Middle Grades and Up

Take a 16-year-old “spinster”, drop her smack dab into the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee in 1879, and you have the premise of On Viney’s Mountain by Joan Donaldson. In spite of it being a Young Adult book, it is engaging and captivating for all readers. Told completely from the point of view of Viney, the spinster in question, this story will capture your interest before you finish the first chapter.

Viney, the youngest of three siblings, has been raised by her aunts after her mother dies in childbirth and her father leaves the mountain. Now that they are grown, these three teens live in their father’s cabin and work hard to support themselves. Viney is unusually independent for a girl of the 1800s, and does not think all women have to marry. She is determined never to be like her older sister, who can’t wait to marry, and has hopes of finding a suitable mate in the group of settlers.

Filled with a deep love for her mountains and the nature around her, Viney harbors strong opinions when that nature is encroached upon by a group of English immigrants, intent upon creating an Utopian settlement practically in Viney’s back yard. Determined to do what ever it takes to rid her community of these encroachers, Viney is quite taken aback when she finds herself with feelings for one of the settlers.

The author’s realistic writing style combined with the use of authentic dialect throughout the story made me feel as if I was watching a movie. I was sad when it ended, as you will be if you read this book. I wanted to read more. Will we find a sequel in the future? Do we get to discover if Charlie returns to wed Viney? Only the author can tell.

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