Filled with adventure, discovery, and a splash of sibling rivalry, Maureen Buchanan Jones’s historical novel Maud and Addie includes sweet messages about the importance of family.
Though they are less than a year apart in age, Maud and Adelaide could not be more different. Maud likes adventure; she dreams of finding pirate treasures. Addie likes dresses; she dreams of being as classy as her mother. After a summer boat ride goes wrong, the sisters are stranded on a deserted island. It takes all of their wits to survive, and courage to face the secrets they uncover as they learn to work together.
Bold imagery is used to describe the island’s wide variety of plants and animals, and this contributes to the book’s plausibility: Maud and Addie are not just two children who somehow happen to survive, but are smart, brave girls who make the most of their available resources. The isolated island is an ideal setting for their self-discovery and reconciliation.
With examples of the bickering common to siblings of any era, the story is a heartwarming reminder that the bonds of sisterhood are stronger than any differences. Both Maud’s daring and Addie’s imagination play crucial roles in the girls’ survival. When Maud’s life is threatened, Addie learns that she, too, can be brave, even if that bravery looks different from that of her auburn-haired sister.
While the tension between the sisters is resolved, the ending of the novel is rushed, with the story of the girl’s guardian only brushed upon. The racial tensions that first estranged the family are unaddressed, though Maud and Addie both exemplify wholehearted acceptance of all people.
Sure to enchant, Maud and Addie is a touching novel complete with old skeletons, new friends, and the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood.
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