Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Review of The Revenant by Sonia Gensler

Sonia Gensler transports the reader to Indian Territory in her romantic ghost story The Revenant.  Willie is desperate to escape from the demands of her mother who wants her to quit school and return home to help with the stepbrothers and sister that Willie resents.  Willie, who adored her late father feels little affection for a mother who would remarry so soon after her husband's death.  In order to void returning home, Willie steals her roommate's teaching certificate and job offer and travels to the Cherokee Female Seminary in Indian Territory.

Willie becomes Angeline McClure, the English teacher for the seminary.  She is surprised by the level of civilization she finds in Tahlequah and frustrated by the social hierarchy in the school.  In addition to the demands of teaching, for which Willie is totally unprepared, she finds herself dealing with a ghost who seems to be bent on revenge.  Willie's initial skepticism about ghosts makes the supernatural aspects of the novel all the more believable.

The ghost story is counterposed with a a romance between Willie and a student from the male seminary.  Since she is a teacher and he is a student, a romance is completely out of the question, but Willie can't seem to convince her heart of that.

Willie's problems build to a climax and lead to a satisfying and realistic conclusion.  I would highly recommend this novel for students intermediate grades and up.