The Hollow Tree by Janet Lunn

All these scary, dangerous, traumatic, emotional things are happening to the main character all the time – Phoebe is a 15 year old whose family keeps getting killed around her – and Lunn manages to make them into benign experiences. I didn’t feel excited or anxious or even concerned about Phoebe’s difficult journey to the Loyalist fort; I’d have to say the story completely lost its grip on relatable emotions when a cat and a bear joined her on her trip. Maybe Lunn is trying to avoid frightening young readers, but when your cousin is hanged before your eyes, that should be frightening!

I bought this from a used book store and am debating whether or not to keep it. It does provide some nice background information about the American War of Independence.



It is 1775 and Phoebe Olcott is plunged into the horrors of war when her cousin Gideon is hanged for being a British spy. When she finds the secret message he left behind, Phoebe knows she must deliver it. On a dangerous journey that brings her face to face with rebel guns and wild animals, she is befriended first by a cat and a bear cub, and then by Jem Morrissay, a young Loyalist escaping to British Canada. Although Phoebe and Jem discover their growing attraction for one another, Phoebe’s mission cannot be ignored. She must go on, alone.