My Trelawney: Tonia's Story
It is 17th-century Jamaica and Tonia is a slave girl growing up on a sugar plantation. Determined to win her freedom and also her mother's, she comes up with a daring plan to sail away with Henry Morgan's band of pirates. Will she earn enough booty to buy her freedom? Will she even make it back to Jamaica? More
My Trelawney is an approximately 23,000-word book about a Jamaican slave girl named Tonia. It is a work of historical fiction for the middle grade reader. The story takes place on the island of Jamaica in the year 1670, fifteen years after the English wrested Jamaica away from the Spanish. The characters and their experiences are fictional, but the story is woven around the larger historical event of the buccaneer, Henry Morgan, and his last pirate raid. Morgan sailed on one last voyage to pillage Panama in the winter season of 1670-1671. After this voyage he gave up the pirate’s life and became the respectable governor of Jamaica.
Tonia lives on a sugar plantation in Jamaica called Trelawney. She and her Mama have lived there all their lives as slaves. Their owner is Mistress Charlene who inherited the property from her brother. Mistress Charlene’s nephew, William, also lives on the property. He is bitter because his father left him nothing when he died. Master William, as Tonia calls him, hates Tonia and her Mama. Tonia does not understand why, she only senses that Master William is a threat to her and she needs to find a way to free herself and Mama before Mistress Charlene dies and their ownership passes to Master William.
Tonia makes a friend in Maggie, the daughter of the newly arrived English minister. Maggie is also worried about her situation at Trelawney because her father dies almost as soon as they arrive on the island. This leaves Maggie and her mother, who Tonia calls Missus Mary, in a dubious position. When Master William begins to harass Maggie and Missus Mary, and continues to frighten Tonia, the two girls decide to take matters into their own hands to protect their families. This is how they end up as buccaneers and sail to Panama with Henry Morgan’s rowdy crew of pirates. In the process they uncover Trelawney’s secrets and the reason for Master William’s behavior.
Tonia and Maggie learn about fear and heartache, but they also learn that no matter how bad the situation may seem, there is always hope if they don’t give up. Readers of My Trelawney will learn about buccaneers, maroons, plantation life, sugar cane, historical costumes, burial ceremonies, and seventeenth-century customs and settings.