The Star That Always Stays

Dreamscape Audio. Aug. 2022. 812p. $17.99. ISBN 9781666617610.
Gr 3-7–Debut novelist Johnson reveals in her ending author’s note (not included in the audiobook) that her story here is inspired by her ancestors: Norvia was her great-grandmother. Indigenous voice actor Elise Randall Modica enhances the authenticity as Johnson’s sensitive aural surrogate. The fictional Norvia is also 14 in 1914, the daughter of an Ojibwe/French mother and Swedish father. After her parents’ divorce, her mother insists on hiding their Indigenous background when she remarries. Norvia is initially unsure of stepfather “Uncle Virgil,” but his support of her education, their shared love of books, and his active kindness for all the children earn her trust and love. Modica is mostly an easy, even narrator, but she displays her charm when assuming precocious eight-year-old Dicta’s pronouncements and wannabe suitor Aylmer’s courtly speeches.
VERDICT Johnson’s historical fiction warms hearts and ears.

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