One Came Home by Amy Timberlake is a charming coming-of-age story set in 1871 Wisconsin. The narrator, Georgie Burkhardt, is 13. Her beloved older sister ran away; one week later, the Sheriff brought back an unidentifiable body wearing her sister’s dress. Georgie, a crack sharpshooter, is certain that her sister is alive and is determined to prove it. Woven in to the plot is information about the large flocks of passenger pigeons that existed before they were hunted to extinction and details about town life in 1871.
There is nothing particularly new here, but I enjoyed the author’s writing. For example, Georgie arranges to rent a horse for her trip to find her sister. She waits for the horse to be delivered.
“Billy was late, but all I could think was My horse! My heart pattered like it was Christmas. I do not highly regard girls who get lathered up over horses: Oooooh, cinnamon! I love a cinnamon-colored horse! When an admired boy is riding atop an admired horse, it is a scene of such ridiculousness that it scarcely bears commenting upon. Yet here I was with sugarplum horses prancing in my head." (p. 42)
Georgie has a believable voice. Parts of the plot are implausible, and the ending did not surprise me. Still, it’s a sweet tale that is likely to be enjoyed by the intended audience of grade schoolers and by many adults as well.