The Unicorn Tree

© 2012 Cynthia Collins book cover by Jamie Johnson Published by Mockingbird Lane Press

© 2012 Cynthia Collins
book cover by Jamie Johnson
Published by Mockingbird Lane Press

A teenage girl whose brother is lost at sea —
The diary of a nineteenth-century woman —
And the special place that binds them…

Lisa Duncan, a seventeen-year-old high school senior, has an assignment to tour a historic site and write a report about it. She chooses Mirabelle Manor, a large estate overlooking the ocean, built by a nineteenth-century sea captain for his wife. During the tour, she thinks Mirabelle’s portrait is watching her. One of the items on display is Mirabelle’s diary, open to a passage about going to a place called the unicorn tree to watch for ships. This appeals to Lisa because her brother is currently on a commemorative voyage, sailing across the Atlantic aboard a restored clipper. When news arrives that his ship is lost at sea, Lisa’s interest in the diary changes from curiosity to determination in hopes of discovering what happened to him.

The Unicorn Tree is listed in the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) 2016 Summer Reading List  and 2016 Winter Reading List in the section of Grades 9-12. Paperback and Kindle  and  Barnes & Paperback and Nook

Book Overview

The Unicorn Tree is set in a small New England coastal town and at sea aboard a clipper ship. The time period alternates between present day and 1850. The story combines universal themes of family, friendship, uncertainty, and independence with adventure, maritime history, and ghostly intrigue.

It is two stories in one: The first one is in the present. Lisa explores the estate and reads the diary as an assignment. When her brother is reported lost at sea, she feels drawn to the house and to the people who lived there. The drama creates a strain at home with her parents and friends as days and weeks go by with no news. The second story is the love between Mirabelle and the captain, their life and influence within the community, and during their separations when the captain is at sea.

The Unicorn Tree is for teens and adults who like old mansions, clipper ships, ghost stories, and adventure in historical settings. For more information, see also reviews and excerpts.


© 2016 Cynthia Collins. All rights reserved.