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ISBN: 9780765322555352 Pages
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Ben Butterfield, ex-circus performer, is living out his days in a small backwater town. He spends much of his time dwelling on the past, pondering his glory days with the circus, and his first grand adventure—an odyssey across Missouri and Illinois to Bright Star, Indiana, during the Civil War. It was a journey that laid the groundwork for the man he would become, and on which he got to know the two people who meant the world to him, and still do.
In 1862, Ben sets out to help Johnny Hawkes, a resourceful Texican, drive two camels to the farm home of a Yankee officer who has taken possession of the desert beasts as contraband of war. But when Johnny is imprisoned by the Yankees and charged with horse theft, it is up to Ben to complete the task without his friend and mentor. On the threshold of manhood, he has only the help of a young girl, nicknamed Princess, who spends most of the time masquerading as a boy to avoid drawing unwanted attention. Johnny and Princess must stand together and persevere against the odds if they are to overcome every obstacle placed before them on the winding way to Bright Star.
A magnificent tour of 1860s heartland America, The Way to Bright Star is a grand coming-of-age novel, in the tradition of Huckleberry Finn, and destined to become an American classic.
Thinking about the circus coming to town led me to pull out this shoe box full of faded photographs that I keep in the bottom drawer of Old Man Fagerhalt's desk. I have not looked at them for a long time, maybe a year or...