In Jean Flahive’s delightful historical fiction work for young readers, a girl growing up in rural Maine witnesses monumental events of the early 20th century.
The book begins as 96-year-old Millie visits Maine’s Seashore Trolley Museum to witness the restoration of the renowned “Narcissus,” an electric trolley car that was part of the transport system popularized during the early 20th century. During her visit, memories take her back to a childhood in rural Maine.
The year is 1911. Ever the dreamer, seven-year-old Millie Thayer imagines a life beyond her family farm. Such thoughts are enhanced by a fortune teller’s prediction that Millie will someday meet a “notable” individual.
Three years later, when a new trolley line is up and running in her hometown, Millie meets the former President Teddy Roosevelt as he travels aboard the Narcissus. Over the next decade, she learns about Roosevelt through a budding friendship she develops with a wilderness guide who is closely acquainted with Teddy. Her worldly curiosity is also peaked via informative conversations she has with a leading suffragette traveling the trolley system.
Rich in local and world history, the colorful story weaves historical context throughout about WWI, a deadly pandemic and other important events of the time. Ultimately, Millie and her family must face the worries and grief of the era, and hope for a triumphant future.
Final words from both the author and real-life restoration project manager, Phil Morse, lend insight into the historic transport system.
In this engaging narrative, Flahive weaves a charming, uplifting story by employing palpable writing that allows readers to experience the triumphs and tragedies of days past. Its solid and engaging storytelling style, buoyed by likeable characters, will appeal to a young audience, as well as train enthusiasts, Teddy Roosevelt fans, and lovers of history.
Also available as an ebook.