I really enjoyed this book. Not because it was a Newbery Honor Book. Not because it was a historical fiction and I LOVE historical fiction. Not because it was a great mystery. I enjoyed it because Georgie Burkhardt is one of those characters who, although young, and a female in a time when females weren't fully appreciated for their amazing contributions to society, does not allow anyone to tell her what she cannot do.
That sentence probably has some major technical problems, but it is what it is.
Georgie's story takes place in 1871, in and around the town of Placid, Wisconsin. The first paragraph of her tale blows me away - we writers are told to grab the reader from the get-go, and Ms. Timberlake manages to do it with gusto. She talks about her sister's first funeral, and tells us she knows it won't be her last. How can you resist something like that?
This gutsy young girl takes off on an adventure to discover what actually happened that has resulted in this catastrophe. Imagine watching your parents go through the grief and anguish of attempting to verify that a badly mistreated body (or parts thereof) is that of their missing daughter, while knowing in your heart that it canNOT be the sister you know and love. Unimaginable!
It's a good thing Georgie is such a crack shot with that rifle of hers, because she's going to need her skills as she turns detective and sets off in search of the truth. Of course, it turns out to be a good thing when that questionable character, Billy McCabe, decides he'll just have to go with her - with the excuse that he's only loaning Georgie his mule, and has to make sure she takes good care of him.
I love the voice of this girl, and her grit, and her refusal to be molded into anything other than the incredible person she is. The setting is interesting and all of the historical facts regarding the now extinct passenger pigeons were woven into the story with great skill.
A great read and suitable for all ages.