Waller, Sharon Boggs The Forbidden Orchid, 378 pages. Viking (Penguin), 2016. $19. Language: PG (7 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG-13 (mention of naked man, sexual innuendos); Violence: PG (hazing).
Elodie has played the dutiful daughter for too many years. When her plant hunter father returns home from a disastrous trip hunting orchids in China and refuses to come home or talk to her father, Elodie is the only one willing to go to his hiding place and confront him. Even though she convinces her father to re-attempt his trip, because if he doesn’t their family will bankrupted and forced into a work house, she decides to sneak on board his ship and follow him in order to help him on his quest. Along the way she meets a handsome sailor and ends up married to him in order to protect her reputation when she is discovered. When she steps onto Chinese soil, however, her challenges really begin.
For girls how like historical fiction such as Charlotte Doyle, with strong female characters breaking stereotypes, Elodie’s story is a natural continuation. I do like that Elodie wasn’t trying to rebel from her life – it was to save her nine younger sisters and her mother that she made the desperate choices that she did. A good optional choice for a library where girl books or historical fiction are strong sellers. I personally loved learning more about plant hunting and the early years of Chinese-English relationships.
MS, HS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher