Cover image for Storm bird
Storm bird
McCutcheon, Elsie.
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Farrar Straus Giroux, 1987.
Format :

On Order

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 6-8. A leisurely but meaty story, this novel will appeal to readers who enjoy historical settings and plots full of secrets and emotional tension. The protagonist is Jenny Lovett, who finds herself living with her aunt Clara after her father's business fails and he goes to sea. Aunt Clara lives in Newbrigg, a coastal town that is a far cry from London, Jenny's home. Although upset about moving, Jenny is prepared to accept her new circumstances, except that after her father leaves, she notices a definite and worrisome coolness in Aunt Clara's attitude. The woman quickly proves an unpredictable and somewhat eccentric guardian, and Jenny is at a loss to make sense of her behavior. Meanwhile, Jenny has become a companion to Joshua Gale, youngest son of the moneyed family that employs her aunt. Joshua shares his love of birds with Jenny and through him she begins to fathom important pieces of local history that affect both her and Aunt Clara in ways she never imagined. Somewhat like a soap opera in a historical setting an apt analogy rather than a criticism the revelations that slowly unfold are effective in holding readers and in providing a sense of village life in turn-of-the-century England. Jenny's personality is well characterized as are Joshua's and Clara's, and as events play out (to a happy, slightly too tidy finish) there is also an unexpected message of tolerance. DMW. [OCLC] 87-45013

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8 An English fishing village in the early 1900s forms the backdrop for this engaging Gothic mystery. Motherless Jenny Lovett is left to live with dour, mysterious Aunt Clara while her father is at sea. One bright spot appears when Jenny is asked to be a companion to wealthy Joshua Gale, son of Aunt Clara's employer. They both benefit from this unexpected friendship; additionally, Jenny loves being tutored, and Joshua is thrilled to have someone share his birding interest. The harshness of life in this poor village of Newbrigg, with its constant reminders of death and shipwrecks; the Victorian inability to allow children any rights; and the social class differences offer a fascinating easel upon which to paint a tale of friendship and family. McCutcheon's descriptions of the town, with its ``dilapidated-looking cottages. . . some of them with shutters hanging askew. . .straggled on southward,'' and its people allow readers to become an integral part of the Newbrigg affairs. McCutcheon has written a good, folksy story. Pam Spencer, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Fairfax County, Va. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.