Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Review: Jamberoo Road

Jamberoo Road by Eleanor Spence, 1969, Bethlehem Books, 183 pages, Softcover.

From the opening pages, there is an air of mystery and suspense. Who is this stranger riding on a horse and what does he want? Jamberoo Road is a story set in 1830 on the Australian coast of a group of ten orphans and Misabella, a hard-working woman of indomitable spirit, and for many of them, the only mother they have known.

Together they are carving out a homestead in this lush and untamed land. In this sequel to The Switherby Pilgrims, many of the children are no longer children, but on the verge of adulthood, ready to make a place for themselves in the world and that involves hard choices. For Cassie, that means accepting her first job as governess to the sister of the handsome, gentlemanly Edward Marlow. But what about Eben, her companion and friend from youth? Will independent Cassie become enamored with her new position as governess in a wealthy colonial family? Cassie is not the only one who has to make hard choices. Impetuous Luke too must decide whether or not to be led down a dangerous “road.”

As the plot unfolds, there is trouble in the area as a group of natives led by Billy Major covet the Marlows’ prize horses. Will Billy Major and his band succeed in stealing the Marlows’ horses and at what risk does he hope to carry out his plan?

Wrapped in an exciting adventure story, this story also covers the dilemma many young people have to face with choices, especially those dealing with lifelong consequences.

Ages 12-up.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Yank 7/3/07

Available from All Catholic Books and other booksellers.

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