Mary Elizabeth Harrington: JD VINCENT
Isolation is a terrible thing and Mary Elizabeth Harrington often lives in her own world created within her imagination. Living in a town that has adopted the name Central Mine because everyone there works as a miner, no street signs or even addresses, this small mining town is devoid of many things that young kids would love to have. Men work six days a week and the seventh everyone attends Reverend White’s sermons in church. Parents do not gear their time or lives to making parties for their children, singing songs with them or even enjoying outdoors fun. Maggie Elizabeth lives in a house with her father and grandmother that barely speak to her or even answer her questions. At 13 years of age she is more mature than most children her age are today. Her mother died and her father and grandmother provide her with the basic necessities in life minus warmth and love. No hugs, no kisses just directives to do her chores, make sure she helps with dinner and if she is lucky gets to socialize and spend time with her best friend Annie. Annie’s parents are different. They speak to her when she comes for dinner but her father seems to speak and talk but basically says nothing. She likes going over there because she has Annie and her brother Tommie. Maggie adores Tommie and in her own private world that she often escapes to she spends time with him and knows that they will eventually wind up together. But, the story begins on a sad note as Maggie’s father takes a huge bucket of water and drowns the poor baby kittens that she has grown to love. Each after the litter is born, she watches helplessly as her father drowns these poor precious animals that could make other children great pets. Killing anything makes her angry and upset but she stands by and says nothing. Living in this town, growing up in silence and not being able to speak out would make most teens rebel. Tommie Setter is her moon and stars and Maggie loves when her friend Annie invites her to dinner. The bond is strong and when Annie’s parents invite her on a special shopping trip to another town, things change drastically for both girls. Enjoying their time together, sewing their samplers, and talking in general they cannot believe what happens in this town. Two young boys are shot and killed when committing a robbery and no one shed a tear. Shouts, cheers and loud roars fill this town as the sheriff takes charge and the coroner to be buried carts off the boys. The coldness in their eyes, the vacancy that Maggie sees when she looks at them and realizes that they are no longer part of this world and she is not sure is they are part of the next one. But, this is just the beginning of the sadness she experiences as she comes home, finally gets to talk to her grandmother who tells her briefly about her father growing up but never really opens up about her mother or even gives her a hug. Praise is rare and work is demanded but Maggie knows how to handle her father and grandfather and learned early on that silence is often golden and contradicting or asking too many questions would only bring on a punishment. Each morning she helps with breakfast, does her chores, I imagine during the fall and winter goes to school and then comes up to prepare her father’s dinner. A man whose live is below the ground in a copper mine that will take the lives of many of his friends before all is said and done? But, what changes Maggie are four precious wolf cubs that she, Annie and Tommie want to protect before someone shoots them dead like they did their mother. Author J.D. Vincent brings to light what happens when one young girl refuses to give up on her values, her understanding of the meaning of life and that just because they will grow up to be wolves does not mean that Bernard and Jack have the right to kill them.
Things change drastically as Tommie finds a place for the cubs to be hidden and he, Annie and Maggie spend much of their time caring for them and hoping to keep them save. But, then tragedy hits and her grandmother dies suddenly and her life will take on another change as she takes on the role of the grandmother caring for her father. But, is this where she really belongs? Why is she trapped in this small town and why is it wrong for her to care so much for Tommie? His parents send a strong message through Annie that their relationship must end and that they cannot spend so much time together. Another girl named Becky seems to have caught his eye but did she?
When someone finds their hiding place and the lives of the wolf pups are in danger because a bounty hunter wants to collect on them Tommie and Maggie decide to run off into the wilderness together. Alone waiting for Tommie to come back with supplies a man named George Bailey appears, A self-ordained minster who believes in their cause to save the pubs and is editing the bible in order to bring all unite all the Christian churches. So, why does Tommie think that they need to leave the safety of this man’s home and a ghost town called Mandan? What is causing his concern? Watching George Bailey he explains to them Maggie how she was “prophesied in the bible, Isaiah, eleven, in the Old Testament.” Explaining to her that he read about her in Isaiah and knew that she wanted to protect the wolves but others were looking for her. Hoping to rewrite the bible he states so that all of the different denominations” of the church will come into one church, the Mandan Free Church…” He would run it!
But, George expands and explains what he has read and then relates how he came to Mandan and the church. Overwhelmed and a little scared Maggie Elizabeth politely listens and learns. Feeling that she is a little like this man she begins to feel he is really inside and that excites her. But, all of her life she has lived in two worlds one that is her reality and the other a dream world of how she would like life to be. Almost at times within her mind creating her own Utopia where her mother would be alive, take care of her, hug her and her father might answer her questions. Wanting to understand not only herself but also who her father really is would make a marked difference in her life but will she return to do this? Will she ever want to go back to Central Mine?
When George Bailey gets sick both Tommie and Maggie have a decision to make the end of their relationship comes to pass. Love, honesty, betrayals, fear, understanding, loyalty and hope all fill the heart of one young teenage girl who just wants to be understand for who she is, accepted as a person and have her voice be heard. The ending will bring tears to your eyes and the truth comes out and the viciousness and greed of others shines through. Maggie Elizabeth Harrington: Her values and ethics will make her strong and someday her voice might be heard above the rest!
Author J. D. Vincent brings to light what happens when two young teens will stop at nothing to try and save the lives of innocent wolf pups but learn the true meaning of greed, power and money when bounty hunters rationalize their actions and two teens want to protect their love of life. What will happen when Princess gives birth to more kittens? Find out when you read the final words spoken by this amazing young teen who narrates the story to readers.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer