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Friday, August 19, 2016

Childhood Favorites...Mary Stetson Clarke

Childhood favorites. Everyone has a favorite book or author from childhood. A book that touched them or changed them. A book that perhaps initiated their love of reading and put them on the path of libraries and learning.

Childhood Favorites is a monthly series focusing on beloved books from the past. 

Donald Zolan, Quiet Time.

Mary Stetson Clarke is an author I discovered in elementary school. Her books were wonderful historical stories that I devoured over and over again. Historically these books are incredibly sound. When looking up the Saugus Iron Works, which is the setting for The Iron Peacock, I discovered that Mrs. Clarke used actual historical figures and experiences in the book. The Glass Phoenix also uses the Sandwich Glass Works as a setting as well as real historical figures. They are fascinating and even now, I love to re-read them. As a college student, I was able to find used copies of my favorites.


The Iron Peacock. When the English defeated the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, many Scotsmen were captured and brought to America as indentured servants. Many of those men were sold to the Saugus Iron Works as servants for a period of 7 years. The Iron Peacock fictionalizes the historical account of the Iron Works. Joanna Sprague and her father flee England aboard a ship taking indentured Scots to America. When her father dies aboard ship, Joanna is unable to pay the rest of her fare and is also sold as an indentured servant to the Iron Master. She meets Ross McCrae, a young Scottish piper, also indentured.

Piper to the Clan. Is a prequel of sorts to The Iron Peacock and tells Ross McCrae's story before he's forced to leave Scotland.


The Limner's Daughter. Forced to return to her father's childhood home in Massachusetts after he suffers an injury, Amity Lyte struggles to discover the secrets that drove her father away in the first place. Set in 1805 Massachusetts, depicting the introduction of the Baldwin apple, the construction of inland waterways, and patriotic prejudice, this novel reveals the struggle of a sixteen-year-old girl to understand and clear the mystery of her father's reputation as she strives to build a home for her family.

The Glass Phoenix. Set in the mid 1800s at the Sandwich Glass Works. Ben Tate has always been fascinated with glass and the miracles of glass pressing, the formulas for achieving different colors. Accidentally acquiring a previously unknown formula for making red glass, Ben triggers an unimaginable chain of events.

What about you? What is one of your childhood favorites?

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