The Accidental Orphan


Short-listed for the 1999 Silver Birch Award

Eleven-year-old Ellen finds herself wrongly accused of stealing while selling flowers on the Liverpool docks. In her escape she becomes a stowaway aboard a steamship bound for Canada, an unwilling member of a band of orphans headed for new families on the Prairies. Adopted by the Aitkens, a family on a Manitoba homestead, she soon lands herself at the centre of a number of calamities, unexpectedly learning about rural life in the New World and the value of family ties, both those forged in blood and those forged in trust.


Silver Birch Award


... a detailed and interesting picture of life on an 1880s prairie farm.

Quill and Quire (May, 1998)

Horne paints a very credible picture of homestead life in the 1880s in rural Manitoba, its one-room schools, the flurry of activity at threshing time, the battles with blizzards and hailstorms.

The Edmonton Journal (December, 1998)

Written for the eight to 12-year-old audience, Horne's novel vividly portrays Canadian life in the late 1800s.

Focus on Adoption (February, 2000)

Horne writes a suspenseful novel.

The characters are well drawn, the feelings of despair, abandonment, hope, and joy realistically portrayed.

Books in Review (January, 2000)

About the Author