Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 10 to 18
- Grade: 5 to 12
The year is 1900 and orphaned 14-year-old Rosetta and her beloved younger sister Flora sail from England as “home girls.” They are sent to Canada so that they can have a chance at family life. Their dreams are shattered when Flora is adopted, but Rosetta is deemed to be too old. She is to become a farm worker, far from Flora’s new home.
Rosetta’s only dream is to find her sister. But slowly and against her will, she is drawn into the lives of the strange couple with whom she has been placed. It is soon clear to her that their home is full of fear and sorrow.
As her relationship develops with the farmer’s wife, Rosetta learns that true sisterhood can take many forms. The support the two young women offer one another makes each one stronger until they find a way to follow their dreams.
About the author
Linda Holeman started writing in 1990 and has since then been prolific. She has written twelve works of fiction, for adults and young people. She has also written a novel for children, Frankie on the Run.
Linda's young adult novel Promise Song had roaring success in 1998: selected for the 1998 Books for the Teen Age by the New York Public Library, finalist for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, short-listed by the McNally-Robinson Book of the Year Award, short-listed for the Ontario Library Association Red Maple Award, Choice of the Canadian Childrens Book Centre. Her first collection of stories for adults, Flying to Yellow, came out with Turnstone Press in 1996; one of the stories, `Turning the Worm,` was selected for the Journey Prize Anthology. To date, Linda's work has been translated into French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Greek, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Norwegian, Danish and Swedish.
She has travelled widely, and her past careers include a huge range -- from dairy worker to a decade of teaching. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.
Praise for Promise Song:
“Holeman’s story has plenty of authentic detail and vivid description … [she] has done an excellent job of bringing this period to life.”
— Winnipeg Free Press
Praise for Mercy’s Birds:
“Eloquent and impacting, Mercy’s story is an engrossing one, charged with emotional depth.”
“…this novel will engage readers…Rosetta’s pluck and determination make her an admirable heroine, and the story is exciting.”
–School Library Journal