Posted in Author Comments, Not Mock Newbery

Fearless by Elvira Woodruff

Summary: In late seventeenth-century England, eleven-year-old Digory, forced to leave his hometown after his father is lost at sea, becomes an apprentice to the architect Henry Winstanley, who built a lighthouse on the treacherous Eddystone Reef — the very rocks that sank Digory’s grandfather’s ship years before. 224 p., Scholastic Press.

Find it at WCPL



I'm a librarian at the Eva Perry Regional Library.

11 thoughts on “Fearless by Elvira Woodruff

  1. Fearless is a superb book. It is so well written and descriptive that it felt like I was in the story. Although it is a rather serous book there were some parts that just made me chuckle and laugh. The ending was bittersweet but also satisfying. As for the characters I felt that I had known them my whole life. I also have to put a good word for the last paragraph witch ties this book up nicely and completely. This book is definitely in my top five favorite books of this year.

  2. I also felt I was in the story. The author manages to change from Zany humor in the middle to a very emotional ending. A good book which fully deserves a Newbery Honor.

  3. I, too, think this is worthwhile reading. It is easy to picture myself growing up in that village and heading out to the unknown. Then to find a kind-hearted person who is based on a real person in history just makes it all really come to life. Would you show this much bravery, loyalty, and perseverance to fulfill what you promised? That’s a worthy question to ponder.

  4. I just wanted to thank you all for your great comments. I’m working on a new book and slogging through that murky middle, so it was such an up to discover your blog and how much you enjoyed my Fearless. I thought the comments were so thoughtful and well written.
    I so loved working on that story. I had fallen in love with Henry Winstanley when I read about him in a dusty little old book I bought in a used bookshop. Henry seemed so amazing and determined a character I just fell in love with him. Of course when the object of your affection has been dead for a couple of hundred years the only way to do that is to write about him. I got in contact with the Plymouth Museum, which looks out on the Eddystone Reef and the new Eddystone Light that is still in use. (Quite ugly by the way) They told me that they were celebrating Henry’s first light on the anniversary of the day he was taken out in the Great Storm, they were giving a special lecture at the museum in his honor. You never saw anyone pack a suitcase so fast!
    Not only did mu husband, Joe, and I travel to Plymouth, England to see the light that shines there today, but we also went to Saffron Waldon, where Henry was born and grew up. We were in a very old bookshop in that lovely village (writers always sniff out bookshops)and we struck up a conversation with the man behind the counter. When I told him I was there to research Henry’s life he smiled. Turns out the bookshop we were standing in was owned and operated by Henry’s uncle in the 1600’s and Henry spent a good deal of time there himselfas a boy.
    After that we went over to the little library in town and were able to see the original drawings of Henry’s house and lighthouse all done in his own hand! …Just so exciting!
    So if anyone ever tells you that researching books is boring, well, you can take it from me they are mighty wrong! Thanks again for making my day by letting me know what thoughtful readers there are out there….best Elvira ps I had a mouse in my house the other day and my husband was out of town. I have a dread of mice so when I set a trap and caught it, I was too freaked out to touch the trap with the dead mouse in it. A painter was painting my house that afternoon and I said, “How do you feel about mice?” He said, “I don’t mind them.” So I told him of my fear of mice and he offered to take away the little dead rodent and trap, but he laughed and said, “You do realize I’ve been reading your Fearless and here you are afraid of a little mouse.” Ah, the irony of it all…..

  5. Hello,
    I am doing a book talk on this wonderful book, recommended by a librarian friend of mine. I am thrilled to get a little background on you and the book! Thanks for a terrific story!

  6. I did a book report on Fearless and I think it had a bad ending. I think Henry should have lived. Even though this book was scary and serious, I laughed at a lot of parts.

  7. since i had to read this for summer vacation i feel as though the book wasnt very interesting but it might be because i am only entering the seventh grade the book was sort of booring sorry not trying to hurt any feelings

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