Janey's Choice


198 pages
ISBN 0-590-12497-8
DDC jC813'.54





Reviewed by Dave Jenkinson

Dave Jenkinson is a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba and the author of the “Portraits” section of Emergency Librarian.


A sequel to Amy’s Promise, Hunter’s 12th novel is told from the
perspective of 11-year-old Janey Phair, Amy’s younger sister. The
action, beginning in 1931, spans some 14 months. After three years in
Toronto with her birth family, Janey, along with her brother Harry,
returns to Winnipeg to spend the summer with Uncle Wallace, a.k.a. Papa,
who, with his now-deceased wife, raised Janey for eight years. Though
Janey’s visit is truncated by her Gramma Davis’s death, Harry
chooses to remain with his uncle, who, unlike his father, seems to love

Back home, Janey encounters a somewhat embittered Amy who is feeling
trapped by the family care-giving promise made to their dying mother.
Although Amy, 17, had vocational aspirations, her father always saw her
as a surrogate mother to his children and someone’s future wife.
Tensions between Amy and her father heighten when he begins courting the
Widow Flowers and climax when the couple elope. Amy’s loyalty to her
dead mother will not allow her to welcome this other woman into the
Phair home. Janey feels she must choose between her sister and the
opportunity to have a real mother.

Like most of Hunter’s novels, Janey’s Choice, filled with the small
details of daily family life, is more a book of character and incident
than of sustained plot. Early middle-school readers need not have
previously encountered Amy’s Promise, but those who have will
appreciate knowing what happened to Amy. The happy ending Hunter creates
is truly believable. Highly recommended.


Hunter, Bernice Thurman., “Janey's Choice,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 25, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/19410.