by Kathryn Lasky
Hannah is the first book in Lasky’s Daughters of the Sea series. This series crosses over between upper elementary readers and young adults, with fantasy and romance elements set against a historical background. Hannah is a sympathetic, strong character who is raised in a home for orphans. When she’s 15, she goes into service for a wealthy Boston family with three young daughters. Hannah helps take care of the youngest daughter and becomes fond of her. An element of suspense is introduced with the eldest daughter’s sometimes violent “nervous” episodes. Hannah accepts her service position with grace until she begins to feel an overwhelming attraction to the sea. When a handsome young painter arrives at the family mansion to paint a portrait of the family’s daughters, Hannah is very attracted to him. He seems to know something about her that even she doesn’t understand. In the exciting conclusion, Hannah must choose between her familiar life on land and a compelling new life in the sea.
Lasky seems to base the girls’ portrait in the book on the famous painting “The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit,” by John Singer Sargeant. It’s interesting to look at this beautiful and mysterious painting with Lasky’s background fantasy in mind. There are two more books in the series so far–May and Lucy.
Recommended for upper elementary grades and young adult.
Reviewed by Victoria