The Springsweet by Saundra Mitchell
Posted by Krystal Larson at 12:39 AM Sunday, April 1, 2012
When another Baltimorean shows up in West Glory, Zora couldn’t be more surprised. Theo de la Croix made the long trip out west hoping to court Zora, whom he has long admired from afar.
But Zora has developed an attraction to a rather less respectable fellow: Emerson Birch, a rough-mannered young "sooner" whose fertile land is coveted.
As Zora begins to suspect that there may be more than luck behind Emerson’s good land, she discovers an extraordinary, astonishing power of her own: the ability to sense water under the parched earth. When her aunt hires her out as a "springsweet" to advise other settlers where to dig their wells, Zora feels the burden of holding the key to something so essential to survival in this unforgiving land.
Even more, she finds herself longing for love the way the prairie thirsts for water. Maybe, in the wildness of the territories, Zora can finally move beyond simply surviving and start living.
The second in The Vespertine series, The Springsweet focuses on Zora. Depressed after the events of the past year, Zora is desperate to get away from her home and all reminders of her departed friends and deceased love. When an opportunity to escape presents itself, Zora takes it. The eventful ride to her aunt’s home in West Glory, Oklahoma, leads to Zora discovering her rare talent. After finding underground water for Emerson, a man she wishes she was not so attracted to, Zora realizes she is a springsweet. Being springsweet is having the ability to sense underground water.
Zora tells Birdie, her aunt, about her talent and soon Birdie begins hiring Zora out to help others find water. Thomas, a boy in love with Zora from her hometown, accompanies her on these trips and Zora’s aunt is hopes Zora will marry him. The prairie is parched and farms are failing. Zora could be the answer to everyone’s hopes, but what if someone’s land does not have any water?
The Springsweet is exciting and draws the reader into Zora’s story. The main character, Zora, is kindhearted and impulsive. She often does not think about consequences and acts without thinking. Zora is kind though, and wants to help others with her talent. Aunt Birdie is young, but experienced much throughout her life. Trying to run a farm with only her very young daughter Louella for company is tough, but Birdie survives and is a good person. Sending Zora to find water for her neighbors earns her money and helps Zora’s customers survive the drought. Emerson is strong, good-looking, humorous, and possesses a magic talent as well. He has the ability to make plants grow. Zora is attracted to him and wonders if her feelings for Emerson are a betrayal to her lost love. The man Aunt Birdie wants for Zora is Thomas. Chivalrous, wealthy, and good, Thomas would be a good husband for any woman. Zora cannot return Thomas’s feelings though, and hopes she will not ruin his kind heart.
Saundra Mitchell is a talented author whose books appeal to teen female readers. The author did a great job using the language of the time period and Mitchell’s descriptions are excellent. Mitchell is able to create a mood and feeling in the reader through her words. This book receives five out of five stars. It is an excellent novel.
*Reviewed by Kristin*
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