One Came Home

Written by Amy Timberlake
Review by Ellen Keith

In 1871, thirteen-year-old Georgie Burkhardt refuses to believe that the body that was found in Dog Hollow, Wisconsin, is that of her older sister Agatha. Her denial may be in part because she tattled to Agatha’s fiancé that she caught Agatha kissing another man. Agatha then left town with “pigeoners.” And then a body was found wearing Agatha’s dress.

Georgie is as stubborn as they come. Her refusal to believe that Agatha is dead is part and parcel of her refusal to believe that Agatha would want to get married and wouldn’t want to run the family store with her. She decides to take off to where Agatha was last seen, and, under protest, gets a travelling companion, Billy McCabe, the recipient of Agatha’s kiss.

Georgie is full of swagger and certainty and yet vulnerable enough to have her own feelings for Billy; in short, she’s a teenager. She has to be resourceful in the face of hostility from townspeople unwilling to help her in her search. And, although Georgie is the main character, Billy and even Agatha and Agatha’s cuckolded fiancé in their small roles give as good as they get. A picture of the community emerges, one that has allowed Georgie to be as headstrong as she is. My six-year-old niece already loves stories that feature strong girls. When she’s old enough for this book, I know she’ll love it too. Recommended for ages 10 and up.