A Buss From Lafayette
Dorothea Jensen has written a warm, funny, coming-of-age novel about a 19th century teenage girl who lives on a farm in Hopkinton, New Hampshire. Set in June 1825 as the Town and its inhabitants prepare for General Lafayette’s Farewell Tour visit, the story begins on June 21 and ends 6 days later, the day that Lafayette pays Hopkinton (and Clara) a call. A lot happens in that fateful week; and we see Clara morph from a precocious, rambunctious, somewhat petulant 14-year old into a wiser, more mature young adult.
Jensen sketches her characters with short but believable strokes. Clara, her aunt/stepmother, Priscilla, her brother, Joss, the boy Dickon and her cousin, Hetty, are vividly and sympathetically portrayed. Lafayette is, well, Lafayette, charming and oh so French. Jensen also paints what appears to be an authentic portrait of life in 1825 New Hampshire as well as the Nation’s response to Lafayette’s final visit to his adoptive land.
The story has a number of twists and turns, but the plot is resolved in a satisfying, wholly heart-warming dénouement. Though A Kiss From Lafayette is billed as a young adult novel, it is truly a tale for adults of all ages.
- Alan R. Hoffman, President, American Friends of Lafayette; President, Massachusetts Lafayette Society; translator, Lafayette in America in 1824 and 1825, by Auguste Levasseur.A