When thirteen-year-old Elizabeth Tilley and her parents board the Mayflower in 1620, they have high hopes for a better life in the New World. Although they are not Puritan Separatists like many of the passengers, the Tilleys have few economic opportunities in England. But after a long and difficult sea voyage, the Mayflower arrives in Cape Cod in the dead of winter. On deck one night, Elizabeth sees Dorothy Bradford, one of the other passengers, standing by the railing, but tells no one. The next morning, Dorothy has disappeared, presumed drowned. Elizabeth feels terrible guilt and is determined to hide her secret, fearing blame. Soon after, both of Elizabeth's parents die from disease. Elizabeth feels all alone, without family and with few friends, and burdened by the terrible secret she hides.
This was a good historical novel about the voyage on the Mayflower and the settling of Plymouth colony. Elizabeth Tilley was a real passenger on the Mayflower, and the authors did a good job at imagining what her life might have been like in the first years of the colony. I would recommend this book to young readers who enjoy stories about Colonial America and the Pilgrims.