It's 1912 -- brassieres are replacing corsets, suffragettes are agitating for the vote, and women are wearing their hair startlingly short. For Eleanor Hill, 12 years old and growing up in an isolated fishing village with her older sisters and widower father, these developments in the outside world provide a fascinating respite from the drudgery of her everyday life, which is made up of housekeeping, cleaning fish, and -- for six months a year -- attending school. But no one else in Eleanor's life seems much interested in where the world is going. Her sisters are resigned to the prospect of marrying, having babies, and spending long days scratching a living from the sea. Finally, Eleanor decides to run away to the nearby town of New Bern and live with her aunt and uncle in order to make something better of herself.
Once in New Bern, Eleanor begins to live the life she's always dreamed of -- she attends high school, wears store-bought clothes, and fully enjoys the pleasures of town society. But a sudden death in the family helps her see that the way of life she left behind has its own rewards too. Rich with period detail and memorable characters, Eleanor Hill is based on the life of the author's grandmother.
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