A novel for young adults, Homeward acts as a time capsule to zip the reader back over two hundred years into a world difficult to envision-no cars, Internet, telephone, or air travel. Here we meet Esther Boyle in 1887, as a girl of twelve, when she arrives at her maternal grandmother's home in war-ravaged rural Virginia. The child of American missionaries, she has made the 3000 mile steamer journey from Brazil in order to further her education. Esther identifies herself as Brazilian, yet like any girl today, she wants desperately to belong in her new life. Her greatest challenge, one difficult for today's reader to imagine, lies in the delay of weeks or months for communications from her family. Her father's broken promises contribute to her feelings of isolation and abandonment. The friends she makes when she attends Moldavia, "a boarding school for young ladies," and her love of the piano provide solace and joy.