Title: Sarah’s New World
Author: Colleen L. Reece
Series: Sisters in Time book 1
Major Themes: Holland, New England, Pilgrims, Puritans
Synopsis: A brother and sister travel from Holland to America with the group of people who are now known as the Pilgrims.
Sometimes I buy used books specifically to read for reviews for this website. Sarah’s New World was one of those. Of course, I enjoy reading almost all historical fiction, so it’s not a sacrifice. I had never heard of the series Sisters in Time before buying this book, and wanted to know what it was like.
John and Sarah Smythe live with their parents in Leiden, Holland. They are happy with their life, but their parents are no longer content. The children are forgetting their English ways and assimilating into Dutch culture. What can they do? John spies to find out what his parents and the leaders of the small Puritan community are planning!
Soon, John and Sarah find themselves on the Speedwell, going to England to meet others who will travel to the New World with them. Once on the ocean, however, the Speedwell must turn back and its passengers find themselves crowded onto the Mayflower. The trip is very challenging, and John and Sarah try to encourage each other and help others—although John still finds himself tempted to spy on the leaders.
This is a pretty accurate account of the voyage of the Mayflower to New England. I appreciated that the children acted realistically; they were not made out to be heroes, saving the day when the adults ran into trouble. I also appreciated the account of the meeting on the Mayflower immediately after arrival, when the colonists made the decision to govern themselves.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12