Published by Walker Books Ltd on August 5th 2002
Genres: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade
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My name is Dovey Coe and I reckon it don't matter if you like me or not. I'm here to lay the record straight, to let you know them folks saying I done a terrible thing are liars. I aim to prove it, too. I hated Parnell Caraway as much as the next person, but I didn't kill him. Twelve-year-old Dovey Coe never did like Parnell Caraway. She didn't like his slick way of wooing her older sister. She didn't like the way he maligned her beloved deaf brother. But while she didn't like him, she certainly didn't murder him. All the evidence, however, points to Dovey. Now the girl who's used to protecting everyone around her has to rely on a "city" lawyer who doesn't know goldentod from goldenroot to protect her. Dovey's not one to sit back when troubles are brewing, but just this once she might have to...or will she?
Caroline: I have to say, I really wanted to like Caroline, especially with all the nice things Dovey said about their relationship, but in fact I did not. The part of her I saw the most was her falling for evil Parnell, whether it was an act or not. After hearing about all the horrible things he had done, I wanted to shake Caroline and say ‘What is wrong with you? How could you buy in to this? He’s EVIL, for goodness’ sake!’ And I do blame her, mostly, for how everything turned out. She seemed so innocent, but she led him along, and if she had cut it short before it began, things might not have gotten so nasty.
Parnell: Pure evil. Quite possibly one of the worst 17-year-olds (so unfortunately close to my age) I have read about. I have no idea how his own mother and sister could love him, much less *almost* Caroline.
Amos: He seemed really nice and good at adapting to circumstances. I am quite impressed that he learned to read and write, and that he worked out a code with his dogs. But I think Dovey thinks she needs to protect him more than he actually needs protecting.
Wilson: Nice, likeable, a good match for the stubborn Dovey.
Ending (definite spoilers)
View Spoiler »I did appreciate the irony of Amos saving Dovey after she’s been protecting him the entire time. That was well played. But it did ruffle my feathers a bit that he didn’t get ANY sort of backlash. Dovey knew but didn’t tell anyone except her lawyer, who calmly explained that he was safe from legal prosecution as long as no one told. And their mother suspected as well. But no one seemed to mind that Amos was a murderer, capable of killing someone, despite his disability or good intentions. I’m not saying I wanted him to get thrown in jail, but perhaps a serious discussion would have been in order? Another thing that seriously bothered me was Paris’ testimony at the trial (Paris is Parnell’s sister and longtime rival of Dovey). In fact, both hers and her mother’s testimonies. Such obvious lies to anyone who knew Dovey and Parnell, but when it’s the judge who decides your fate and not a jury, it’s quite a disadvantage. If the jury was made up of people from the town, their testimonies wouldn’t count for anything but lies. Just another thing they had to work around. It really disheartens me to know that such liars still get lawyers who have to pretend everything they say is true in order to convict an innocent person. Who could live with themselves if they had to do that for a living? « Hide Spoiler
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