I would like to have a book cover designed for my children's novel. In this middle grade historical novel for girls ages 8 -12, a racist comment casts a shadow on an otherwise perfect day for two 12-year-old best friends at their teacher’s wedding. The remark generates a story about another pair of friends living 170 years earlier. Caroline Bull, daughter of plantation owners, has grown up with her friend Cassie. Caroline’s family owns Cassie and other slaves, but as was customary in some South Carolina antebellum homes, Cassie is growing up with most of the advantages Caroline enjoys. This historically correct, middle-grade novel focuses on the friendship and escapades of two fun-loving girls on a 19th-century plantation. The novel centers on the girls’ adventures while considering the realities of life when one is owned by others. Although Redcliffe is historically accurate, it is essentially a story about two ‘tween girls who live in the mid-1800s. Human nature today is not much different from the way it was in 1840 – people still feel love, jealousy, anger, and fear in 2012 in the same degree as they did in the past and will in the future. As an English professor, I try to show my students that human emotions and basic behaviors remain unchanged despite the historical period in which the people live. Preteens today must deal with social norms, negotiate blended families, and manage conflicting messages of sexuality, innocence, and morality. Cassie and Caroline also balance the secrets of their relationship against the accepted customs and morals of their era. This book has a light, cheerful tone. The novel acknowledges the historical facts of slavery but emphasizes the pleasantness of daily life while minimizing its cruelty and dehumanization; the historical characters display behaviors and desires so similar to the ones girls feel in the present that the book will appeal strongly to today’s readers. Chapters include: Miss Christine’s Wedding – Bailey and Bianca, two 12-year-old modern day girls attend their teacher’s wedding in modern-day South Carolina. A chance remark sets in motion stories from the past about two other girls and their adventures; Life at Redcliffe Plantation – Caroline and Cassie, 12-year-old-girls at Redcliffe Plantation in 1840, help beautify a hesitant bride and learn that love doesn’t always depend on physical beauty; Hummingbirds – Can Caroline and Cassie teach hummingbirds to drink out of bowls in their hands? A month implementing the techniques of bird expert Dr. Manfried leads to hummingbird kisses; Paddy The Orphan Boy – An unusual sound in the barn turns out to be a lost orphan boy whom Caroline and Cassie feed in secret until he disappears. The entire household is surprised at where they find him; Lady Justice Runs Away – A favorite horse runs away, and Caroline and Cassie meet a new friend in trying to catch her; The Dogcart – Caroline and Cassie cajole Jim into building them a Russian-inspired dogcart which they proudly show off to their neighbors including the Richland’s handsome, college-aged son Patrick; The Macready’s Come to Visit – A big family of fun red-heads comes to visit. Their stay turns temporarily scary when the littlest Macready is lost in a violent rainstorm; Frankenstein’s Monster – The girls disobey and secretly read a frightening book that terrorizes them for several days; A Redcliffe Christmas – Father models Christmas after a favorite author, and Caroline and Cassie exhaust themselves in meeting his wishes and marshalling the assistance of the child visitors for the holiday; Snowstorm! – A heavy snow surprises Redcliffe, bringing new-found sledding fun; Blind Hattie – Caroline and Cassie encounter a mean girl and meet a “conjurer” – a fortune-teller – when Mother takes them visiting to a nearby plantation; Honoria and Mr. Gilman – Using the lure of music, Caroline and Cassie help the shy Mr. Gilman get the attention of his beloved Honoria; The Pigpen – Cousin Robert Gibbs Sheldon comes to visit – and torment – the girls, culminating in a near-death tumble into a pigpen guarded by an angry boar. The final chapter goes back to the present where Bailey and Bianca and Miss Christine talk about the stories, about slavery, and about history.