________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 2 . . . .September 15, 2006


Sarah’s Legacy.

Valerie Sherrard.
Toronto, ON: Boardwalk, 2006.
199 pp., pbk., $12.99.
ISBN 1-55002-602-X.

Subject Headings:
Mothers and daughters-Juvenile fiction.
Maturation (Psychology)-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 4-8 / Ages 9-13.

Review by Ruth Sands.

***˝ /4



I could see from the way she'd answered that she wasn't going to contact Stan about doing the work if she didn't hear from him first. Mom has too much pride to call him - not when she had the impression he didn't want anything to do with her anymore.

I knew she had to be wondering what happened, why all of a sudden he'd just stopped coming around or phoning. She probably thought he'd lost interest in her. I wished I could get up the nerve to tell her the truth, but even the thought of explaining it made me feel sick

A couple of times I tried to force something out, but no words came. It was as if my mouth was frozen or the words were stuck partway out or something.


In this not so typical rags to riches story, 12-year-old Sarah and her mother find that their financial problems are solved when a letter arrives telling them that Aunt Sarah has left them an inheritance. The estate comes with a few conditions - they must move to the house in Miramichi, NB, and take care of a large assortment of pets - but more that this, Sarah has been left a legacy all her own. Through a series of diaries left in a hope chest, young Sarah gets to know her great aunt and the life she led in the early 1900's. While learning about the woman for whom she was named, Sarah also faces the loneliness in her mother's life and finds strength and courage from a woman she has never met.

     Valerie Sherrard has done an excellent job of giving voices to the characters in this book. Sarah, as the narrator, is believable and self-aware without being smug. She fumbles through the trials of growing up, but she does it in such a way that the reader is carried along and taught life's lessons as Sarah learns them. The character of Aunt Sarah is distinctively revealed in the diary entries and has a voice that is unique. The crisp, clean writing pulls the reader along on a breathless ride of anticipation to a satisfying conclusion.

Highly Recommended.

Ruth Sands is a freelance writer from Vancouver, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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