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Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle

blackduckjacketfrontIt is nearing 1930, and the Prohibition (the banning of transportation and production of certain alcohols) is brewing up trouble in Rhode Island. When two boys named Ruben and Jeddy find a washed up body on the beach, things are just going to get crazier for them and Jeddy’s older sister Marina. They are soon wrapped up in the raging war between drinkers, smugglers, and the authorities; a war in which Jeddy and Ruben will both be drawn together, and torn apart.


What I Thought of Black Duck

First and foremost, I will admittedly say that I had no knowledge of the Prohibition before reading this book, so at the very least, Black Duck is a good book to read if you want to learn something new. The author crafted a novel that not only informed readers about these dark years in history, but also created a thrilling and interesting plot. The book begins when two best friends are strolling down the beach and find an very rich and equally dead man. It then flashes forward to modern day, where a young reporter named David is trying to get the full story from the now elderly Ruben. The book continues like this as David puts all his effort towards prying information out of Ruben. To be honest, one of my favorite aspects of Black Duck was seeing how Ruben used to be and how he is in David’s time. There was a fair amount of action in this story, but it was well balanced with the emotional struggles Jeddy and Ruben experienced during this tough time. Jeddy was faced with a huge moral issue of whether he should support his law-breaking best friend or his law-enforcing policeman father, which made this book even harder to put down. Although jammed full with action, Black Duck also had instances of tragedy, for Jeddy, for Jeddy’s father, even for Viola the dog. This balance of emotional perfection and compelling thrills makes Black Duck a great historical fiction read, deserving 4.5 out of 5 stars.

One of my the most memorable moments in Black Duck is actually the first event in this book. I thought finding a man dead on the beach was a surprising and epic way to open up a story, and the rest of Black Duck surely didn’t disappoint me!

Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars

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