Book Title: The Swan Bonnet
Author: Katherine L. Holmes
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Swans are endangered in 1920s Alaska. Unbeknown to Dawn, her grandfather has shot an old swan out of mercy. In their coastal Alaskan town, her father buys the swan pelt, preventing her Uncle Alex, a fur trader, from selling it for export. Dawn’s father surprises her part-Aleut mother with a hat she helped to make and also with an idea to catch poachers. Dawn and her mother become involved with the suspicious effects of the swan bonnet besides its haunting effect. But after they encounter women from a ship and find out about a hunting party, they ride to the inlet. There are townspeople roving the shore too but who is the vigilante and who is the poacher?
They were going to be vigilantes. They might stop swan poaching if Dawn could give Lead Boy a sense of urgency. She had to ride the portly old horse, bought from a portly old miner.
Before they rode out, Petra stuffed the swan bonnet in a burlap bag that she attached to Lead Boy’s saddle. “Maybe it would be good luck to take this hat back where it came from,” she said as she jumped onto their bronze nag, Zirca. “In the story, the swans wouldn’t let the hunter be one of them. People can’t be swans. The hat’s already worked as a decoy.”
Dawn clamped her heels into Lead Boy but, as he seemed reluctant about the fog, she dug her heels in again. Finally, her boots made an impression on his thick hide and they took the boundary trail out of town. Where Frances’s father usually took a trail to the bottleneck, they didn’t see any horse tracks. At least the laggard horse began a heavy trot. Then they were on the road to the inlet, nestled not only in mist but in mantles of pine and Sitka spruce.
Fog lapped over the land. The view was so bleary that Dawn couldn't see wagon ruts and heather-fringed boulders until they were near. The burlap bag strung onto Dawn’s saddle kept sailing up and causing her to flinch. As Lead Boy accelerated to a quick canter, the light bundle floated beside her. Still, Dawn had to slap Lead Boy to get him to gallop across the plateau in order to keep up with her mother. She seemed farther ahead than she was because the mist made only an outline of Zirca.
Where the plateau began to recede into scrub, Dawn jounced beside her mother and said, “The trail splits pretty soon. Sometimes Wallop still takes the higher one.”
The mist made blinders of their way but eventually, they found the new trail. Petra jumped down from Zirca.
“Horse hoofs,” she said. “They look fresh. Maybe four sets. It's probably the ship party. They didn’t take the trails to the bottleneck.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katherine L. Holmes’ first published book was The House in Windward Leaves, an MG fantasy which became an E-book Finalist in the 2013 New Generation Indie Book Awards and a Juvenile Fiction Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Book Awards. Also, she won Prize Americana for her short story collection, Curiosity Killed the Sphinx and Other Stories, published by Hollywood Books International. In April 2013, The Wide Awake Loons was released by Silver Knight Publishing. The Swan Bonnet, a historical novel, will be published in July, 2013, by GMTA Publishing. Katherine has worked with used and rare books in the last years. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota.
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