The Luminous Life of Lucy Landry

Holiday House. Mar. 2024. 272p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823453634.
Gr 3-7–Selena Lucy Landry (Lucy, for short) is full of imagination, wonder, and a taste for adventure—with one exception. After losing her father in a shipwreck, she has an overwhelming fear of the sea. This proves particularly difficult when she is sent to live with the Martins, a large Anishinaabe family of lighthouse keepers on a tiny island in Lake Superior. She arrives desperate to be loved but can never seem to say or do the right thing. Soon, however, a window of opportunity appears. The Martins live close to Mermaid’s Corner, the site of a shipwreck her father often told her about. Can she find the ship’s treasure that her father longed to discover? Will seeking it bring her closer to the Martin family, or is Lucy destined to not only be an orphan, but an outcast forever? Lucy has an enchantment reminiscent of Anne Shirley’s, but Johnson adds so much depth to the 19th-century orphan story by weaving it with the girl’s self-discovery as she connects more deeply with her Ojibwe heritage through her newfound foster family. There is also a nod to homeschooling as the Martins live far from school, and take pride in having their mother as a teacher.
VERDICT Fans of L.M. Montgomery seeking diverse characters will rejoice at this heart-warming, feel-good adventure, as will families looking for books representing home learners.

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