Seeing as I recently moved to Wisconsin, Amy Timberlake’s One Came Home, set in the fictional Placid, Wisconsin, in 1871, appealed to me. It follows Georgie Burkhardt, a tough, thirteen-year-old girl whose older sister, Agatha, has just turned up dead after running away a few days prior.
Or has she?
Georgie is not sure that the badly decomposed body–wrapped in the tattered remains of her sister Agatha’s blue ballgown–is actually Agatha’s. She knows that her sister was last seen with three pigeoners in Dog Hollow, Wisconsin, so she decides to borrow a horse (that turns out to be a mule) and head to Dog Hollow to investigate. She grudgingly accepts the company of Billy, the young man who had asked Agatha to marry him just a few days before she disappeared.
The two set off for Dog Hollow in the middle of the night, Georgie determined to find Agatha, and Billy determined to convince Georgie that Agatha is dead. On their journey, they encounter not only dangerous animals, but very dangerous people. Will they figure out what happened to Agatha, or will they disappear, too?
This YA historical fiction is a pretty fun read, and I especially enjoyed learning about the now-extinct passenger pigeons that used to descend on Wisconsin in droves. I didn’t much like Georgie, despite her rough-and-tumble attitude and her impressive sharpshooting skills, but the sense of place is great in this novel, and Georgie will surely appeal to many young readers.