2013 · 3 stars · fiction · mg

review; alone yet not alone

Title: Alone Yet Not Alone
Author: Tracy Leininger Craven
Pub. Date: January, 2013
Source: Publisher (Thank you, Zonderkidz!!)

A miraculous survival.

An extraordinary faith.

Autumn 1755.

Settled in the Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania, deep within America’s new frontier, the Leininger family celebrates the blessings of a beautiful homestead and bountiful harvest. Until tragedy strikes with the beginning of the French-Indian War and the devastating raid know as the Penn’s Creek Massacre.

The lives of this simple, God-fearing family are forever altered when Barbara and Regina, two young sisters, are carried away by a band of Allegheny warriors. Driven by their faith in God and the powerful bonds of family, Barbara and Regina hold firmly to the belief that they are never alone, even in their darkest hour, and that they will be reunited again.

Genre: MG
Rating: star-half-64

Alone Yet Not Alone is a smidgin of a novel – just shy of 150 pages – yet it packs a punch. Half biographical account, half fiction, author Tracey Leininger Craven tells the tale of two ancestors, Barbara and Regina Leininger. When they were still girls (Barbara was 12, Regina 9), the pair witnessed the deaths of their brother and father and were captured by Indians, taken into their camps and raised as their own.

If things weren’t horrible already, shortly after being captured, the sisters were separated; Barbara was taken to an Allegheny camp while Regina was left in the care of a Delaware tribe.

Alone Yet Not Alone follows Barbara’s years spent in the camp and her miraculous escape, all the while never losing hope that one day she would see her little sister once more.

I was immediately intrigued upon receiving a copy of Alone Yet Not Alone. I live in Pittsburgh. I’m very familiar with Fort Pitt and the surrounding areas. While I absolutely love visiting other countries/worlds through books, there’s nothing quite like reading a book and knowing exactly where the characters are.

Not only was the setting totally my cup of tea, but I’m also a big fan of non-fiction. Granted, this wasn’t completely non-fiction, but Barbara’s story was fascinating nonetheless. How a 12-year old girl could go through the terrible ordeal of losing her family and being taken hostage only to somehow find the strength to escape is unimaginable.

Like I said, Alone Yet Not Alone is extremely short. The story takes place over nine years. Sadly this results in quite a few time skips and hurried storytelling. With a story like this the book could have easily used an extra few hundred pages. I wanted to know more. Once Barbara escapes, what happens to the camp? What was Glasako’s reaction upon finding his future bride had escaped? Was Hannawoa punished?

Despite the page count and unanswered questions, I found myself genuinely looking forward to each new chapter. Though the ending was tied up a little too neatly for me, I enjoyed Alone Yet Not Alone.


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