Mutiny's Daughter by Ann Rinaldi
Genre: YA, historical fiction
Published on February 1, 2004
Published by HarperCollins
Read From: 1.19.12 - 1.19.12
By leading the most famous mutiny in the world, aboard the HMS Bounty in 1789, Fletcher Christian risked being hanged. But what happened to him after the mutiny? There were stories that he survived a vicious massacre in the South Pacific and boarded a ship back to England. We know that he had several children by his Polynesian wife, including a daughter named Mary. Could he and Mary have reunited in England?
Behind the privileged walls of her new boarding school, fourteen-year-old Mary Christian struggles to fit in, having lived a fairly secluded life on the Isle of Man with her grandmother and Uncle Charles, who claimed Mary as his own daughter so no one would know her real connection to Fletcher, who is still a wanted man. But keeping her secret away from the other girls isn't easy - especially when Mary is certain that she knows where her father is in England.
This is a wonderful "what if" story, filled with Rinaldi's classic historical detail, adding such life to her fiction that it's hard to pick the made-up from the facts. Mary is a very well balanced heroine, neither too forceful nor too meek, though perhaps a little too accepting of her situations at times. Still, she is a good narrator; one that doesn't get on one's nerves.
The only flaw with this particular Ann Rinaldi novel? Like all boarding-school stories, there is the jerky prim and proper girl who bullies everyone else and tries to ruin the heroine's life. Lizzy is an excellent bully - I hated her the moment she popped into the story, and she's especially fun to hate because she has nothing in her past to even slightly excuse her for her bad attitude; she simply is a jerk. But Mary never gets even with her; she never brings Lizzy down even a little bit. Oh, Lizzy doesn't exactly win, either, but when a story has the mean girl, every Reader wants something bad happen to her. And it never does.
So on that account, Mutiny's Daughter is disappointing. But in every other respect, it is one of Ann Rinaldi's finest.