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Bound Girl of Cobble Hill

by Lois Lenski
291 pages, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by Nienna

Good, educational, and interesting read.

Plot

When Sara Gibbs' husband died she had hoped to still have a home for her little girl so that they at least could stay together. But in 1874, when Mindwell was scarce seven years old, her mother was forced to 'bound' her out to her uncle for the next eight years.

Morality

Mostly good. Selfishness and stinginess are strongly frowned upon, while generosity and love are commended. One character who is sort of a role model for Mindwell repeatedly tells her not to hurry in her work, because people are going to treat her badly anyway. People are not respected by Mindwell and Slocum just for being people, but only if their character earns respect. Doing one's duty and minding well is a theme throughout the book. Most of the characters who do wrong repent by the end.

Spiritual Content

A woman is accused of being a witch, and some people think she put a spell on someone else. The main characters say that's nonsense.

Violence

General negligence towards various people. A crowd wants to drown someone at one point. There are couple of brawls in which people get minor injuries. A couple of characters have to run for their lives. A character dies of illness and old age.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Uncle Bassett and other characters are mentioned using snuff. Most of the story takes place at the tavern, where it will mention men having drinks or a "flip." A woman mentions wanting brandy to help her stomach.

Sexual Content

A little flirting between various characters. A constable orders a widow to take off her gown in order to be searched, but she refuses and goes into another room to be searched by another woman.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

See Sexual Content.

Conclusion

Full of vivid characters, sympathetic situations, and historical accuracy, Bound Girl of Cobble Hill is an interesting and enjoyable book. While there is a lot of sadness, true to real life, the end is very happy and as good as it could be. This book would be excellent material for a study of the human nature, or customs and cultures.

Fun Score: 4
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: 11-12

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