Lea Wait

Uncertain Glory
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Uncertain Glory (bookcover)

Islandport Press
ISBN 978010939017-25-3

It’s April, 1861. The young nation is teetering on the brink of the Civil War. In the small town of Wiscasset, Maine, thirteen-year-old Joe Wood is struggling to pay off the debts of his newspaper and printing business. But as the effects of war begin to spread over his hometown, he must also juggle his personal ambitions and loyalties with new responsibilities.

He has to help Owen, his young assistant, deal with the challenges of being black in a white world now torn apart by color. He needs to talk his best friend, Charlie, out of enlisting. He wants to help his parents with their general store. And then there’s Nell, a young spiritualist whose uncle claims she can speak to the dead. Her headaches are getting worse. And then Owen disappears, and it’s up to Joe to save him.

Based on a real boy who owned and ran Wiscasset’s newspaper in the mid-19th century and went on to become a major figure in Maine journalism,  Uncertain Glory is the story of four young people touched by war’s tensions, forcing them into adulthood before they’re ready for all its ramifications.


(NYC) Center For Fiction:  “Lea Wait’s Uncertain Glory holds up (characters’) youth and their dedication to what, in our age, would be adult responsibilities, as an admirable matter of fact, eliciting a continual fascination with how different these young people are from those of the same age in our time and temperament. ...the intervening centuries slip away, leaving prescience and promise with the overwhelming demands of now.”
Kirkus:  “Wait nicely captures the infrequently depicted Northern home front of the Civil War, as well as the entrepreneurial drive that some teens shared when there were fewer age-based labor restrictions. Joe’s homespun voice captures the full flavor of a smart and determined kid with his eyes firmly on the future, richly evoking time and place ... worthy and entertaining.”

Publishers Weekly:  “Excellent historical coming-of-age-novel ... a fascinating look at small-town life during a pivotal moment in American history.”

“Lea Wait’s lucid writing and beautifully imagined, deftly plotted tale, make 19th century Maine as vivid and fresh as today’s headline.” – Maryrose Wood, author of the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series

“This page-turner juggles complex characters and plot twists to leave readers breathless and challenged to draw their own conclusions about a range of ethical issues.” -- Kathleen Kudlinski, author of prize-winning historical novel and biographies for young people

“Inspired by the true story of several remarkable teens, Uncertain Glory is a vivid reminder that even far from the battlefields, the Civil War changed the lives of children, women, and men forever.” – Kathleen Ernst, author of many American Girl historical novels, most recently, the Caroline series

Chosen as a town read by Rumford, Mexico, Dixfield, Byron, Hanover, Roxbury, Carthage and Canton, Maine.

2014 Agatha Award Nominee for Best Children's / Young Adult Novel.




To hear a radio interview with Lea Wait about UNCERTAIN GLORY, click here.

Children’s author Linda Crotta Brennan interviewed Lea Wait about Uncertain Glory. Read the conversation on Linda's blog here.

Lexile: 740L

Teachers and Librarians:  For details on the themes in Uncertain Glory, how they relate to Common Core standards, and questions for classroom discussions, see Educator’s Page: Uncertain Glory

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