Shoddy Cove, by Betty Levin
Hardcover in Very Good Condition
Publisher Recommended Age group: 10+, and/or Grades 4-6.
While working with her family at Cosset Island Village, an historical replica for tourists of an early nineteenth-century village in New England, Clare helps two young runaways and learns about a mystery from the past.
American Library Association Review by John Peters:
Levin weaves past, present, and a hint of the supernatural into this multithreaded tale of runaway children in different centuries. Clare chafes at being an unpaid, costumed "resident" at the reconstructed nineteenth-century settlement (where her mother works), until she meets Adam and May, half-sibs hiding out from relatives who would separate them. After Adam reluctantly enlists Clare's help in making contact with a possible rescuer, he reveals an old letter proving that the shelter where he and his half-sister are hiding once harbored fugitive slaves. Along with picturing day-to-day life in a busy tourist attraction, Levin fills in historical background about the Underground Railroad's early days and unravels a mystery from the 1830s involving the death of a slave hunter. To the modern plot with a startling twist at the end, she also adds several unexplained incidents, including encounters with eerily elusive, possibly ghostly strangers. It's all a bit of a jumble, but the themes and setting will intrigue young readers, and Clare, whose mother is an adoptee of Vietnamese-African American descent, has a refreshingly strong presence.