The adventures of a British girl in China, hunting for the orchid that will save her family.
Staid, responsible Elodie Buchanan is the eldest of ten sisters growing up in a small English market town in 1861. The girls barely know their father, a plant hunter usually off adventuring through China, more myth than man. Then disaster strikes: Mr. Buchanan reneges on his contract to collect an extremely rare and valuable orchid. He will be thrown into debtors’ prison while his daughters are sent to the orphanage and the workhouse.
Elodie can’t stand by and see her family destroyed, so she persuades her father to return to China once more to try to hunt down the flower—only this time, despite everything she knows about her place in society, Elodie goes with him. She has never before left her village, but what starts as fear turns to wonder as she adapts to seafaring life aboard the tea clipper The Osprey, and later to the new sights, dangers, and romance of China. She comes to find that both the world and her place in it are so much bigger than she’d ever dreamed. But now, even if she can find the orchid, how can she ever go back to being the staid, responsible Elodie that everybody needs?
Sharon Biggs Waller moved to England in 2000, where she worked as a riding instructor at the Royal Mews in Buckingham Palace and as a freelance magazine writer. These days she is a dressage rider and trainer and lives on a ten-acre sustainable farm in Northwest Indiana with her British husband, Mark. She is the author of three non-fiction books, as well as the YA novel A Mad, Wicked Folly.
* "Elodie and Ching Lan are feminists of their era, refusing to bend to the rules and limits placed before them."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "A historical romance with a strong female protagonist, sure to find fans."—School Library Journal, starred review
"The characters are strong and full of life, and the plot combines the perfect amount of both adventure and romance. . . . This book is a must-have."—VOYA
"Similar in tone to Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty (2003), this is a perfect read for timid teens who dream of adventure."—Booklist
"Well-researched and filled with adventure, romance, and lots of tension—this work of historical fiction has all the elements of an intriguing read."—Kirkus Reviews
A Junior Library Guild Selection
Nominated for the American Library Association's Best Fiction for Young Adults List