"Eliza's fundamental faith is challenged by her friends Katrina, a Russian girl and Erm, a native Tlingit. as she learns more about their faith and culture."

This young adult novel is based around America's acquisition of the Alaskan territory. It is set in the summer of 1867 on Sitka Island where Russian officials, who ruled over ten years, turned authority over to Americans. Lindenfeld populated her novel with teenagers who might have lived in the south of Alaska during this event. Eliza Healy is the 14-year-old daughter of a protestant missionary who arrived by boat in springtime to open a church for natives. The family of four lives in a tent near the docks, among other arrivals, until the Russians depart.

Eliza meets a Russian girl, Katrina, who introduces her to the Russian Orthodox culture. Katrina has befriended a Tlingit girl whose Raven clan returns by canoe to Sitka in summer to fish. Taught the American's language by the Russian church, dialog between characters is often broken English. She also tries to explain about the God her family serves, but wonders herself about His protection so far away from relatives. Eliza's little brother remains ill after nearly drowning. Her father must consider the healing powers of herbs from the Tlingit shaman/healer, who attends outdoor church services.

Historical fiction, like Lindenfeld's book, introduces readers to life in bygone days. It's a virtual tour of history. This genre challenges an author's focus, especially when the story has a plateful of interesting characters, rich details from two cultures, and religious attitudes to reconcile—all in 161 pages. A prequel or sequel might provide space to develop the story line. Still, this book achieves the goal of educating young readers. They learn about Russian icons and a Tlingit village with totem poles. More importantly, along with Eliza, the reader learns that both the Russians and Tlingits cultures may do things differently but they are good, hard working people and God provides care and friendship on the Alaska.

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