Charlotte’s Rose—justifiably back in print—tells the story of a young Welsh girl, Charlotte Edwards, who, soon after her mother dies, sails with her father from England to the United States to become part of a company of Mormon handcart pioneers—emigrants with no horses or oxen who themselves pulled the heavy carts filled with their belongings. These were arduous journeys. While on the Mormon Trail, Charlotte befriends a young mother who later dies in childbirth. Though only 12 years old, Charlotte assumes responsibility for the infant and carries her to Utah. Over the course of their journey together, Charlotte becomes deeply attached to the baby she calls Rose, which makes Charlotte’s choice at the novel’s end particularly poignant.
The author, A. E. Cannon, is adept at creating vivid, multifaceted, believable characters and has crafted a story of pioneers that will seem relevant to today’s young people. The reader will quickly be drawn into the story as Charlotte struggles to navigate the trials of an adolescent moving into adulthood. Although this is a book about Mormon pioneers, it is in fact about the larger American experience of immigration—a drama still unfolding today—and Charlotte’s coming-of-age journey will resonate with readers young and old.