Friday, April 2, 2010

The Family Greene by Ann Rinaldi

The Family Greene by Ann Rinaldi
Publication Date/Version: May 2010/Hardcover
Publisher: Harcourt
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Around The World Tours (Thanks!)

Cornelia Greene is fed up with gossip about her mother. Caty Littlefield Greene was once a beautiful young bride who lifted the troops’ spirits at Valley Forge, but Cornelia knows that rumors of Caty’s past indiscretions hurt Nathanael Greene, Cornelia’s adored father. Yet, Caty claims that she’s just a flirt, and that flirting is a female necessity—a woman’s only means of power. But Cornelia’s concern with her mother’s reputation fades to the background when she learns that Nathanael Greene may not even be her father. As she searches for the truth, she makes unexpected discoveries that lead her to a new understanding of love and family.

The Family Greene is told in two parts: Caty Littlefield's childhood and growing up, and Cornelia Greene's journey of discovery. Caty has always been a flirt, claiming that that was how women executed power over men. Her antics have given her a poor reputation, however. Cornelia now feels the sting of the rumors and begins searching for answers. One thing is dredged up that she wished she never would have known. Nathanael Greene may not be her father. Along her journey, Cornelia discovers what love really means.

This is my first novel by Ann Rinaldi. I enjoyed it, but it didn't pack that extra punch. I love historical fiction, and I've heard great things about Ms. Rinaldi's work, so I had high expectations.

The plot pacing was stop and go. Sometimes I found it very interesting, but other times it was dull and hardly held my attention. I enjoyed Caty's story more so than Cornelia's which I found to be somewhat lacking. The general lack of a positive female figure also irked me. Caty had her flirtatious aunt, and Cornelia has her flirtatious mother, neither of which can seem to stay faithful to their husbands. I was disappointed that Caty never changed her ways, even when it was obviously hurting her husband and children.

Cornelia's quest to find out who her father was was not nearly as exciting as I had hoped. There were never any clear answers, and I felt that the way love was expressed may be too confusing for younger readers. Even I thought the forms of love were a little backwards and odd.

I really enjoyed the setting and background of The Family Greene, but the general plot and characters were too lacking for me to enjoy what could have been a wonderful story. Based on this book, I'm not sure I would read another novel by Ms. Rinaldi. Has anyone read anything by her? Do you recommend it?

Overall: Great setting and historical background. Lack of positive, respectable female figure. Choppy pacing and plot.

My Advice: Maybe borrow it. I've never read anything else by Ann Rinaldi, so I can't compare to her other works.

Cover: That girl looks incredibly whiny and pouty. I crinkle my nose every time I see it - the model's pose and facial expressions drives me crazy to no end.

*This was read as a part of the 100+ Reading Challenge


  1. Hmmmm... I don't think that I will read this. I love historical fiction too but I do get bored easily on the journey books. Great honest review McKenzie!

  2. I normally LOVE her books- I've read a ton, but haven't read this one. I may check this out still though...

  3. In My Father's House and Numbering All the Bones are two of my favorites by Ann Rinaldi. Some of her books I really enjoy and others I tolerate but I always learn something I didn't know. I am looking forward to reading "The Family Greene" as the history books that I teach from do not do justice to Nathanael Greene.

  4. This wasn't my favorite book by Ann Rinaldi (And I think I've read most of her books, still have a few I need to read) but I did enjoy it, I just didn't love it. I agree about the cover though! And it also really bugged me because as a history nerd I know that the clothing on the cover is 100% wrong for the time period the story is set in.


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