In the spring of 1871, fourteen-year-old Pringle Rose learns that her parents have been killed in a terrible carriage accident. After her uncle Edward and his awful wife, Adeline, move into the Pringle family's home -- making life for her and her younger brother, Gideon, unbearable -- Pringle runs away with Gideon to Chicago, seeking refuge from the tragedy, and hoping to start a new life. She becomes a nanny for the children of a labor activist, and quickly finds herself caught up in a web of intrigue and lies. Then, when a familiar figure from home arrives, Pringle begins to piece together the devastating mystery of what happened to her parents, and realizes just how deadly the truth might be. But soon, one of the greatest disasters this country has ever known -- the Great Fire of Chicago -- flares up, and Pringle is on the run for her life.
Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Susan Campbell Bartoletti is the award-winning and critically acclaimed author of many fiction and nonfiction books for children. Her fiction includes the novels The Boy Who Dared
, Dear America: A Coal Miner's Bride
, and No Man's Land
, as well as a number of picture books. She won the Newbery Honor for her nonfiction book Hitler Youth
. A former eighth-grade teacher for 18 years, Bartoletti now writes full-time and lives in Pennsylvania with her family.
- ! 'From DEAR AMERICA: DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 15, 1871
five days have passed since the fire began but each day has felt like a year. Around
me, lumps are beginning to stir. As they sit and stand and scratch and cry and whisper
and coo, the lumps transform into men and women and children. Their hair and skin
and clothing are covered with fine, white ash.
Each time the subtlest
breeze passes, it carries smoke and ash with it. I look over each rising lump, wondering
if this one will be Gideon. But it never is.
I wonder, too, if Gwen
and Peter and Adam and Lucy and Sallie are safe. I pray the answer is yes, even
though I hope to never lay eyes on a Pritchard again.'