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Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite
The French Girl (A First Children of Farmington book) by Lisa J. Lickel is based on the true story of Marie Brinker, a girl born in Luxembourg and brought up in France. Her family emigrated to America in 1852. Her father was a tailor, and the family, together with another couple, did intend to run a store; a project made impossible by the cost of importing goods. Ms Lickel has retained the outline of Marie’s arrival in Farmington, and the fact that her father spent months away from his family, working in Chicago. She has built on that grounding to give an accurate, but fictional, picture of rural life, and how the character of Marie in the story learns to fit in with local customs and make new friends.
Lisa J. Lickel’s short story, The French Girl (A First Children of Farmington book), is beautifully illustrated by Brenda K. Hendricks. The images are mainly of antique items, some of them essential to demonstrate how a tool used in the story would operate. Marie’s first hurdle is communicating with the neighbours’ children; Farmington is a German-speaking community. Young readers will be fascinated by activities such as a feather bee and the visit to the County Fair. Even more intriguing are the personalities trapped between the pages, and Marie’s thoughts about whom she’s prepared to befriend and copy as she adapts to her new life. The majority are friendly and hard-working, but there is also Augusta. All good stories have an antihero, and this one is well-painted: not overdone, but not likeable either.