Book Title: The Swan Bonnet
Author: Katherine L. Holmes
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Swans are endangered in 1920s Alaska. Unbeknown to Dawn, her grandfather has shot an old swan out of mercy. In their coastal Alaskan town, her father buys the swan pelt, preventing her Uncle Alex, a fur trader, from selling it for export. Dawn’s father surprises her part-Aleut mother with a hat she helped to make and also with an idea to catch poachers. Dawn and her mother become involved with the suspicious effects of the swan bonnet besides its haunting effect. But after they encounter women from a ship and find out about a hunting party, they ride to the inlet. There are townspeople roving the shore too but who is the vigilante and who is the poacher?
“I think I saw a few swans flyin' last night,” he said.
“Are you sure?” Dawn did her homework now at her window upstairs, watching after sundown. She decided to mystify Davy with the swan hat appearing on the coat rack. “Neither of my parents could account for it. My father thought that my Uncle Alex might have stopped by. They probably think I put it there but I didn’t.”
“I don’t think your Uncle Alex is in town. My pa mentions it if he is,” Davy replied.
“The hinge is loose on the cupboard but I’d expect the hat would float to the floor if it fell out.”
“Maybe there’s something to that spirit stuff. Maybe the swans are migrating.” Davy looked out at the harbor, his eyes fixed, as if he were watching someone. Sometimes Dawn didn’t know whether to distrust him or to like him.
Then his eyes caught the light and he was sprightly. “I’d ride out on my colt to see if the swans are here. You could ride on the other horse. Lottie’d be just right for you.”
“I might know tomorrow. When could we ride out?” Dawn blurted. She knew that if her grandmother didn’t come to town today or if her grandfather sailed in just to talk to her father, the swans were migrating.
Davy’s face kept its edges as he said secretly, “Right after school. We could go to our pasture and ride out from there. It doesn’t take so much time as sailing to the inlet. We could even go after lunch. We’ll tell Miss Banrath that we’re goin' out with my pa to watch for poachers.”
Although Dawn’s father talked of being a vigilante, he was against her helping. Yet she couldn’t imagine her father ever skipping a swan migration because he had to go to school. He didn’t usually miss migrations except last spring and that was because the swans were scared off.
“Miss Banrath might keep a secret about the swans. But I’m not supposed to tell anyone about the migration,” Dawn said, adding, “She hardly ever talks to my mother. We could say we’re helping to post notices. I guess they came in. Just in time too. If my grandmother doesn’t come into town today, maybe you saw swans.”
They were coming any day if they were coming, and Davy probably knew the back roads to the inlet.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katherine L. Holmes’ first published book was The House in Windward Leaves, an MG fantasy which became an E-book Finalist in the 2013 New Generation Indie Book Awards and a Juvenile Fiction Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Book Awards. Also, she won Prize Americana for her short story collection, Curiosity Killed the Sphinx and Other Stories, published by Hollywood Books International. In April 2013, The Wide Awake Loons was released by Silver Knight Publishing. The Swan Bonnet, a historical novel, will be published in July, 2013, by GMTA Publishing. Katherine has worked with used and rare books in the last years. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota.
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