Novel: The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
Target Audience: 9-12 years
Genre: Historical fiction; mystery
Publication Year: 1990
Setting: Mostly aboard the Seahawk on the journey from England to America; 1832
A Favorite Quote: “Not every thirteen-year-old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial, and found guilty. But I was such a girl…”
My One Sentence Summary: The prim and proper Miss Charlotte Doyle finds herself in the midst of mutiny, murder and mayhem on the high seas as she travels to rejoin her family in America.
What I loved about this book: I always enjoy a good mystery, and this story is full of intrigue and plot twists. The first time I read this book, I devoured in it one sitting, staying up late into the night to find out whodunit—and, also, to discover what would happen to Charlotte. Would she be hanged? Rejoin her family and retake her place in society? Have other adventures? Remain friends with Zachariah. I was entertained right up to the last line of the story.
Major themes: Empowerment of the disenfranchised; Integrity and standing up for what’s right/one’s personal beliefs and convictions; Abuse of power and authority
Who should read this book: Readers who enjoy historical fiction and/or mystery. Imagination and a willingness to sift through/understand a ship’s rigging and how certain aspects of sailing operated at this time will also help readers to enjoy this novel.