Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Review - Tonia of Trelawney

Tonia of Trelawney by Jacqueline C. Grant
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (December 20, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0595394175 ISBN-13: 978-0595394173
About the Book:
In the charming novel Tonia of Trelawney, two young girls set sail upon treacherous and pirate-infested seas to escape the tyranny of an angry slave master. Author Jacqueline C. Grant paints a vivid picture of life on a sugar plantation in seventeenth-century Jamaica.

In 1670, Tonia, a young slave girl, lives at the Trelawney Sugar Estate on the island of Jamaica. She thinks this is the only life she will ever lead until she forms an unlikely friendship with an English girl named Maggie, whose family recently moved to Jamaica.

For reasons unknown to Tonia, Master William, the plantation owner's nephew, hates her. She longs for nothing more than to buy her and her mother's freedom so they can flee from William's cruel authority. Tonia and Maggie devise a daring plan to leave Trelawney by disguising themselves as boys. By hiding in hogshead barrels being sent to the port for shipping, Tonia and Maggie escape from the plantation and set off on their journey to find the great pirate Henry Morgan and hire on as part of his crew.

Tonia of Trelawney tells the adventurous tale of two brave girls who become the most unlikely of buccaneers. Come along on their turbulent voyage as they learn the ways of the ocean and reach beyond the limits of their strength and courage.

About the Author:
Jamaican-born Jacqueline C. Grant holds a master’s degree in Latin American history and gender studies and is currently working on a Ph.D. in Caribbean history at the University of Miami. She called Trelawney Sugar Estate home for several years and now lives with her two children in Miami, Florida.
I just finished Tonia of Trelawney and my main complaint is that I wished the book was longer. Ms. Grant tempts us with a story about a time and place that most of us only know from Pirates of the Caribbean. What I read, I liked...a lot.

What I wanted was more. We get a glimpse into plantation life in Jamaica and the buccaneers inhabiting the area in the 17th Century. Darn it! More! I learned that the name 'buccaneer' comes from 'boucon' for the smoked meat the pirates took on their voyages. I learned some about sugar cane plantations.

I think Ms. Grant has a wealth of knowledge about the location and era and she could have doubled the size of this book giving us more details.

I was entertained and my interest piqued with the story of two girls adventuring with pirates to earn Tonia's life out of slavery. This is exciting stuff and very readable for girls and boys.

Add to it, Jacqueline! How about a sequel, following Tonia's and Maggie's lives after this adventure?

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