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The Freethinker’s Daughter

Appearance Date: 10/29/2022

This historical and inspiring coming-of-age novel for young readers explores topics of both historical and contemporary relevance as it follows a harrowing year in the life of its intrepid teenaged narrator. Lexington, Kentucky, 1833: Calendula “Cal” Farmer, a thirteen-year-old white girl, has been raised by her abolitionist, freethinking mother to reason for herself, consult her inner wisdom, and come to her own conclusions. But when a flash flood devastates her family’s home, Cal is unexpectedly thrust into domestic service in a wealthy family’s mansion. There, she encounters firsthand the physical, intellectual, and emotional brutalities of slavery. Later, a cholera outbreak kills a quarter of the population, including Cal’s mother, and Cal enters an orphanage, where she bravely begins another chapter in her young life. Cal’s story is sure to captivate readers as she confronts the injustices and uncertainties of racism, class consciousness, epidemic disease, and personal loss with independent thinking, courage, and love.

Meet the Author

Jenny O'Neill
Jenny O’Neill

Jenny O’Neill is the author (as Jenny Davis) of three Young Adult novels: Goodbye and Keep Cold, Sex Education, and Checking on the Moon. Goodbye and Keep Cold was selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, for the Editors’ Choice list from Booklist, and as a “Best Book” by School Library Journal. Her new book The Freethinker’s Daughter is a historical coming-of-age novel set in 1833 Lexington, Kentucky.