HFVB Tour Review: LOOKING FOR JANE by Judith Redline Coopey

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Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tours is featuring a variety of books by Judith Redline Coopey. I had the pleasure of reading LOOKING FOR JANE a few weeks ago while I was on vacation.

LOOKING FOR JANE follows the adventures of 15-year-old Nell, an orphan in Pennsylvania in the late 1800’s, who runs away from her convent orphanage as opposed to being adopted by a family who’s looking for a worker. Nell knows that her birth mother’s name was Jane and after coming across a story about Calamity Jane, she decides whole-heartedly that Calamity Jane is her birth mother and she needs to find her asap. Nell’s journey takes her through many varied adventures, meeting new friends and finding out about herself and life along the way.

I really enjoyed this story and loved the plucky character of Nell. I always love the “journey to discovery” theme in books, and this one was no exception. Ms. Coopey peppers her story throughout with interesting facts of the time period and gives Nell a very distinctive voice.  I found myself cheering for Nell as she fought her battles.

Here’s what HFVBT has to say:

Looking for Jane

Publication Date: December 21, 2012
Fox Hollow Press
Formats: ebook & Paperback
Pages: 238

Genre: Historical Fiction

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“The nuns use this as their measuring stick: who your people are. Well, what if you don’t have no people? Or any you know of? What then? Are you doomed?” This is the nagging question of fifteen-year-old Nell’s life. Born with a cleft palate and left a foundling on the doorstep of a convent, she yearns to know her mother, whose name, she knows, was Jane.

When the Mother Superior tries to pawn her off to a mean looking farmer and his beaten down wife, Nell opts for the only alternative she can see: she runs away. A chance encounter with a dime novel exhorting the exploits of Calamity Jane, heroine of the west, gives Nell the purpose of her life: to find Calamity Jane, who Nell is convinced is her mother.

Her quest takes her down rivers, up rivers and across the Badlands to Deadwood, South Dakota and introduces her to Soot, a big, lovable black dog, and Jeremy Chatterfield, a handsome young Englishman who isn’t particular about how he makes his way, as long as he doesn’t have to work for it. Together they trek across the country meeting characters as wonderful and bizarre as the adventure they seek, learning about themselves and the world along the way.

Buy Looking for Jane

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I have mixed feelings as to the age group for this story — there is some implied sexual situations in the story, but nothing graphic. I personally would let my sixth grader read it, but it really seems geared as not a children’s book. I enjoyed it a lot!

Thanks for making me part of the tour and for my review copy!

Let me know what you think!

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