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The Forgotten Daughter (Newbery Honor Book) Review by Kris Price

Caroline Dale Snedeker
American Home School Publishing
PO Box 570
Cameron, MO 64429
(800) 684-2121

My personal favorite type of book to read is Historical Fiction. These books make the best read-alouds to share with my children as we study history and geography each week. Unfortunately, the quality of some of the more current historical fiction novels just do not compare to the writings of authors 50 or more years ago. Caroline Dale Snedeker wrote The Forgotten Daughter in 1933 and won a 1934 Newbery Honor Medal for this book. I collect Newbery books because I believe they are often the "best of the best," and this book lives up to that expectation.

The main character, Chloé, is the daughter of a noble Roman, Laevinus, and a Greek woman, also named Chloé. This union is not one that is accepted by Laevinus' father, who tells Laevinus that his Grecian lady love, Chloé, has died, along with their baby, during childbirth. So Laevinus has stayed away from the villa for many years, not knowing that his daughter, Chloé, actually is alive and has spent her entire life as a slave working as a weaver in one of her own father's villas! Chloé is raised by Melissa, a dear friend of her mother's, in a little hut on a mountain away from the rest of the slave quarters. They weave all day from sunup to sundown and are beaten by the vicilus (or landlord) if their work is not up to his standards. Melissa is a great storyteller and Chloé makes it through the long days by listening to exciting stories of her Grecian mother's home town of Eres's and also spending time in the woods that she comes to love very much.

The next part of the book takes us into the ancient city of Rome where there is a struggle between the people and the Senate. Ms. Snedeker gives great detail about how the Roman government works. For several chapters, we are drawn into the events as the people, led by a great orator Tiberius, fight the Senate to reclaim land that is rightfully theirs but that has been usurped by the Senators! After a tragic outcome, Aulus, a noble Roman soldier, is banished from Rome. He returns to his family's villa in the countryside, a villa near to Chloé's hut. Chloé is now seventeen, but she remembers when Aulus lived near the villa as a child. One day, she saves Aulus from certain death and so begins his frequent trips to the hut to visit with Chloé and Melissa. Even though they are slaves and 'beneath' him, he senses them to be different from the rest of the slaves. Chloé and Aulus fall in love with each other, even though they both believe she is a true slave. Neither has any idea that she is actually of noble Roman birth.

While Aulus is away from the villa, Chloé is told by a new vicilus that she is to marry another slave from the villa. Melissa and Chloé escape one night and almost reach their destination. However, while in a Roman town, they are recognized by a guard that used to work in their villa. He knows that he will receive a reward for returning them and so he does. Back at the villa, Chloé is reunited with the father that she has hated all of her life. She learns the truth about why he has stayed away all of these years and also reunites with Aulus. Does Chloé learn to forgive her father? Do Chloé and Aulus find happiness? I'll leave that for YOU to find out!

This book is written for grades 6 and up and retails for $14.95. The Forgotten Daughter has been brought back into publication by American Home School Publishing, who has also re-published Ms. Snedeker's other Historical Fiction novels. These books take the reader back to Ancient Rome, Greece, Britain and Gaul. This book really drew me into the life of an Ancient Roman and I look forward to the chance to read more of Ms. Snedeker's novels when we study Rome and Greece again in a few years.

Product review by Kris Price, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2006