Interactive Historical Fiction e-books

O The Red Rose Tree by Patricia Beatty

red rose

Wanted: Seven shades of red!

When Amanda Bennett and her three friends first hear about an older woman names Mrs. Hankinson who has moved to their community, they think she is a witch. Who else would live in that tumbledown house so far from everyone else? But when they meet the woman, they quickly realise they were wrong. She is an accomplished quilt maker, an artist, really, and she has one special dream: to make a quilt of her own invention call O the Red Rose Tree. But to do so, she needs seven different shades of colourfast red cloth. And Amanda and friends decide to find it for her. The search is on!

Set on the Olympic peninsula in Washington State in 1894.

Colorful historical background and period details.
— The Bulletin
— The Horn Book
Amanda’s overbearing grandmother and frail old Mrs. Hankinson, newly arrived from the hills of Kentucky, are natural-born rivals for the blue ribbon in quilting at the Pacific County Fair, and when Amanda and her three friends (13 years old, but still quite childish in the slower paced world of 1894) throw in their lot with the newcomer they’re presented with a challenging (and historically authentic) quest — finding seven shades of color-true red cloth for Mrs. Hankinson’s original “O The Red Rose Tree” pattern. More than the by hook or (mostly) by crook methods that the girls use to acquire the goods, it’s the quilting lore, rural superstitions and 1890’s society fads that provide the momentum for a full length story. And Amanda’s seizing of the last “red” — the petticoat of an Italian opera singer — in the “morally bilious” city of Portland, Oregon is an appropriately colorful climax.
— Kirkus Review