Fifteen-year-old Callum Murdoch knows he's a fool. He's just arrived from Scotland, and he's already handed over his money to a total stranger. And for what? A filthy, half-starved dog and a carved box that he's been warned never to open. Now he'll have to explain his impulsive action to Uncle Rory, the only relative willing to give him a home. Callum is unprepared for the grinding physical labor of farm work. His only source of comfort is Dog. She seems to know all his secret wishes and fears. With Dog by his side, Callum gains the courage to face life in the New World. But when the mysterious carved box is accidentally broken open, Callum is faced with astonishing revelations -- and difficult decisions.
The Carved Box is thoroughly satisfying historical fiction with just a whiff of fancy.
... a highly readable tale of a young man’s relationship with his pet, his family, and himself.
[Gillian] Chan has created herself a tough challenge for a first novel and has well earned her stripes to write another.