Ann of the Wild Rose Inn

I was going to do a different book before doing two in a series right off the bat, but I just could not stop myself because this book is so dreadful and I loved it so extremely much.


Book: Ann of the Wild Rose Inn, Jennifer Armstrong, 1994. And oh my god, this one really DOES have a rose stencil! As will surprise no one, it is completely hideous and it would look just awful stenciled onto anything, so here is what it looks like on a piece of notepaper I had handy.


Welp, there’s a “rose” for you.  Continue reading

Bridie of the Wild Rose Inn

For this one, I wanted to find something truly egregious, a real example of the trash that was published in the 90s, and this absolutely did not disappoint.

The Book: Bridie of the Wild Rose Inn, by Jennifer Armstrong, 1994. It’s one of those books where the cover tells you exactly how bad it’s going to be. “Includes your own elegant rose stencil,” the cover says! I got these books secondhand so sadly there were no elegant rose stencils there for me, but oh, how I wish there was. I would have stenciled the crap out of my dresser.
So, the plot of this book is that “spirited Bridie,” a Scottish girl, has been waiting for a decade in Scotland to join her parents, who are living in Massachusetts Bay Colony and became Puritans. It involves witchcraft. You’re going to love it.
Continue reading

Across The Wide and Lonesome Prairie

The Book: Let’s start with a classic of 90s fiction for kids, Across The Wide and Lonesome Prairie: The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Campbell, 1847, by Kristiana Gregory, 1997.

I loved, loved, loved this book as a kid. Loved it. I must have read it twenty times and forced my dad to read it as well. Part of this was because it coincided so neatly with my fifth-grade unit on the Oregon Trail, but part of it was because I was just utterly fascinated with people walking all the way to Oregon. Walking! On their feet! And riding in bumpy wagons! For months on end! Sometimes when I get crabby about having to walk a long way to the mall, I think about people walking to Oregon for six months and then I feel ashamed of myself. And the Oregon Trail seems to be the kind of thing that’s relegated to children’s books and really awful romance novels, the kind you can buy three for a dollar at used bookstores—why is that? It’s such an interesting story!

But let’s move on to the book itself. Hattie is thirteen years old, as we learn on the very first page. One of the more aggravating things about reading Dear America books as an adult is way things like ages and relationships are shoehorned in at the very beginning, but that is fairly par for the course in kids’ books. Anyway, Hattie and her family live in Booneville, “Missoura,” which Google tells me is in central Missouri and now has 8,319 residents, and hosts the “primary breeding farm for the Budweiser Clydesdales,” which is an interesting claim to fame.

Continue reading


Hi! Welcome to my blog on children’s and young adult historical fiction, where I’ll be reading (or rereading), reviewing, recapping, and occasionally trashing books. Although I do have two degrees in history, I won’t be nitpicking for accuracy (too much), but there will be plenty of snark on the worst offenders. I loved reading as a kid and mostly I read historical fiction, and I hope other people enjoy my reviews whether they’re looking for a straight-up book review or indulging in some nostalgia themselves.

Happy reading!