Saturday, July 14th, 11am


Marilyn Cram Donahue

live at The Frugal Frigate!

About the Author

Marilyn Cram Donahue lives in East Highlands, California, where her family planted orange groves in the 1850s.  After she graduated from Pomona College, married the boy next door, and had four children, she taught English as a Second Language and began to write books. After a couple of grown-up books were published, she realized that the fifth grade was more interesting and switched to children's literature.

To date, she has published 32 books, six juvenile plays, and over 500 articles and short stories. She has also conducted over 400 seminars and workshops on writing. Marilyn has been a career Planning Advisor for Pomona College and is a consultant for the National Writing Project at the University of California, Riverside. She also teaches a memoir writing class for seniors and coordinates the monthly Meet-Ups for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) in the Inland area. She enjoys speaking at schools, libraries, historical societies, and conferences, and conducts seminars for teachers who want to improve writing skills in their classrooms.

Marilyn is working on two new novels and a memoir called Lines in Time.  She likes reading, sunsets, and taking long walks at the beach.  She dislikes thunderstorms and people whose eyes roam when she is talking to them. If you ring her doorbell and she doesn't answer, you can usually find her in her garden, sitting on a swing and planning another book.

About the Book

Twelve-year-old Angie Wallace looks forward to the summer of 1939 as a bright spot in the life of Messina, the perfect summer, with long days of freedom, when life is constant, and growing up is somewhere in the future. Even the ominous news broadcasts that warn of trouble in Europe don't dampen the spirits of Angie and her friends, who decide to see if the new minister is right . . . that you can "hate the sin, but love the sinner." As a summer project, they make a list of all the townspeople who will be targets of their affection. They do all right with folk like eccentric Miss Emma and Flip Jack Kelly, but find that some, like feisty Dodie Crumper, are challenging.

As the girls move through their neighborhood to-do list, they can't help but notice that there is something strange about the unexpected return of Jefferson Clement to his home town. He wears a nice suit and a carnation in his buttonhole, and he seems popular among many of the townspeople. But his actions toward the girls make them more and more certain that he can't be trusted. Warned by her mother to keep her distance from Jefferson, Angie soon finds that Jefferson doesn't intend to stay away from her or her friends.

When Dodie Crumper falls from a cliff above Sycamore Creek, Angie witnesses the tragedy. She knows that Jefferson was to blame, though he didn't actually push Dodie from the cliff. When Angie is called upon to testify, she is faced with a life-changing choice. Should she tell the truth and let Jefferson go free. Or should she lie and send him to jail, where she is sure he belongs. Her dilemma challenges everything she understands about truth and justice.

Starred Reviews:

Kirkus Review: 

"In lingering, evocative prose, this story is demonstratively reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird, including a stifling courtoom inquiry of the town scapegoat and a girl's loss of innocence."


"This well-plotted . . . treatment of an important topic is sure to spark discussions."

School Library Journal:

"Donahue creates a memorable pair of antagonists . . . the novel's climax and its aftermath further underscores a recurring theme of the dangers of false appearances. A leisurely pace, careful language, and a nostalgic tone . . . make it appropriate for younger readers or classroom discussion . . . and align with the novel's gentle handling of a serious topic. A thoughtful historical fiction and coming of age story."


"An interesting story. The historical aspect is well constructed . . . The exploration of how silence can perpetuate the actions of a known abuser and how a young teen can use her voice to end it conveys a powerful message."

School Library Connection:

"An atmospheric coming-of-age story with plenty of plot twists and turns."