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Constance: A Story of Early Plymouth
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Constance: A Story of Early Plymouth

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  522 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
"Pish!" says Constance the day the "Mayflower" finally lands in America. Constance longs for her beloved London, but she does her share to help the pilgrim settles fight disease, tame the landscape, and befriend the natives. The village of Plymouth grows as more settlers arrive. Many of the young men have eyes for Constance. Could there possibly be room for romance in this ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 18th 1991 by Harper Teen (first published 1975)
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A book I read as a girl that stuck with me for years and years, until I finally gave in and bought myself a copy as an adult. As the title says, this is a story of pilgrims, and one girl in particular, in early Plymouth. I think it made such a strong impression because it was the first inkling I had of the real hardships the pilgrims would have faced; the first time I had really thought about the pilgrims, period, outside the context of the Thanksgiving mythology we all learn in grade school. Pl ...more
Second reading (in midst of others): November 24, 1988
November 21, 1990 With (above)
November 1993
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November 26, 1997: with (above)
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November 22, 2000: Wed. 11:42 p.m.
November 21, 2001: for Thanksgiving; with (above)
November 27, 2002
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November 25, 2004: with (above)
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Jan 09, 2008 Yasmin rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-books, ya
I read several of Patricia Clapp's historical fiction novels when I was a kid and absolutely loved them! (Perhaps this set the stage for my job at a history museum...)
Apr 08, 2008 Sumi rated it liked it
This is a fictional account of the Pilgrim settlement at Plymouth told from the point of view of the teenaged Constance Hopkins (who really did exist).

Constance is a reluctant immigrant. She did not want to leave England but had no choice in the matter. The book details the many hardships of disease, starvation and even dissension in the ranks that the newcomers faced and in the end, she learns to love her new life.
May 07, 2008 Jane rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childhood
One of my favorite books of all times, omg. I try to read this once a year or so. Funny story: I had to read this in sixth grade, after which we took a field trip to Plimoth Plantation. "Constance" was on the Mayflower while we were there, and I started asking her about all kinds of stuff that happened in the book - gossip about other pilgrims, etc. She just looked at me like I had two heads....I felt really dumb. My teacher just stood there and kept prodding me to ask more - mean!
Ginevra Dean
Jul 07, 2008 Ginevra Dean rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books. Being a descendant of Elizabeth Tilley Howland and John Howland, it was interesting to see what life would have been like for them, not to mention the fact that Constance mentions them a few times in the course of the book as she and Priscilla are friends with them. It is also a bit of a love story, which makes the romance of it even better.
Aug 03, 2008 Heidi rated it it was amazing
A story of the Pilgrims through the eyes of a young girl. I loved this book and read it several times growing up.
Cara Bergeron
This was another read-aloud with the kids. I skipped all of the kissing. Three boys weren't interested and one girl may have been too interested. Other than kissing, nothing objectionable. A well-written tale of early Plymouth for children--and based on the true diary of Constance Hopkins.
I first read this book years ago. It tells the story of Constance Hopkins and her family's pilgrimage to the New World. The Hopkins are among the first settler group of Plymouth. Apparently the story is based on Patricia Clapp's own ancestors. Constance is not always a likeable character; there were many times in the book I wanted to tell her to snap out of it and buck it up. Then I wondered, even though she seemed really whiney and overly afraid of the natives, if I would have acted or felt any ...more
Sandra Strange
Sep 01, 2009 Sandra Strange rated it really liked it
This lively narrative, following Constance Hopkins through the first six years of the settlement of Plymouth, sticks to historical fact, but with the girl's strong voice giving conversations, thoughts, descriptions created by the author, fictionalizes these facts most engagingly. The narrative includes the growing relationship between girl and stepmother, an old fashioned romance including two suitors, and a positive friendship with a native American girl, all with the background of the problems ...more
Apr 03, 2010 Grace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 08, 2010 Julia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it as a young adult, love it still today having just re-read it. Stood up very well to the tests of time.
Oct 22, 2010 Megan rated it liked it
I read this book because my daughter had to read it for a book project. It had a teenage view of Plymouth based on a diary. She gave it one star because she thought it was boring and there was too much kissing.
A coming of age story set in Plymouth based on the life of Constance Hopkins, a teenager on the Mayflower. The story is told in the form of entries in a fictitious diary, though Constance herself (and the other characters) are all historical figures and many historical incidents and details about life in early Plymouth are woven in to the narrative. Constance (who is an ancestor of my wife, hence my original interest in the story) crossed on the Mayflower with her brother, father, step-mother, s ...more
Sarah Tilatitsky
Jan 18, 2011 Sarah Tilatitsky rated it liked it
This book wasn't that bad. I mean, it was a pretty good book. Still, I feel that it should be for younger children, about 10 year-olds or less. It seems as if to be suitable for a read-aloud, or a social-studies class. Anyway, read it, but you may think of it as maybe a little..."boring." Just saying
Sep 27, 2011 Jessie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loveydovey
I read this one rather quickly, although it was tough to get into at first. I had a difficult time making any connection with the main character. But I loved the history aspect, especially as I have ancestors that were on the mayflower. Her flightiness with boys was a little too much for me, I wanted her to be more decisive in that area, and I also felt that when a choice in men was finally chosen the book was rushed to an end.
Jan 06, 2013 Romina rated it it was amazing
I remember reading this when I was about 12, and it really marked my life. Twenty years later I still recall certain parts, although I had read it only once. In fact, I've just decided to order a copy for myself since I'll definitely want my students to read it, as well as my daughter whenever she's ready.

Constance is the story of a young girl whose family sailed to Plymouth and it describes the hardships of the Pilgrims very accurately and vividly. At first she truly hates it there and it takes
Amy Moore
Apr 04, 2012 Amy Moore rated it it was amazing
This is one of the books that introduced me to my love of historical fiction! I need to read it again to see if I still love it as much as I did the first time around.
Teri Sue
Jul 20, 2012 Teri Sue rated it did not like it
This book was a big disappointment to me. I am disappointed in the character of the heroine and in her choices overall. I don't think she fits in her time zone, and I can't help but suspect that she is an auto-biographical reflection rather than a legitimate character of the time. It's true that the author uses the names, location, and probable happenings of a group in such a setting to build her story, but I don't think Constance fits in it. Even the name of the character is all wrong. Constanc ...more
Aug 13, 2012 Wendy rated it really liked it
Recommended to Wendy by: CLM
Enjoyed this book very much; it was delightfully engaging, and for the first time ever I am very interested in visiting Plimouth Plantation. Some woefully misguided depictions of the local Indians, but I accept that this was prevailing academic thought at the time. I passed my copy along to a well-educated young indigenous Brazilian woman who mentioned to me that she liked practicing English by reading English books, which are difficult to come by in Brazil. I wonder if she will read it and what ...more
Nov 20, 2012 Gretchen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: History lovers ages 10-adult
Recommended to Gretchen by: my mother
This book is absolutely wonderful. It's a fictional firsthand epistolary novel written from the point of view of a girl named Constance Hopkins who begins her diary aboard the Mayflower at age 11, in the company of her father, brother, step mother, and two half siblings. The writing is gripping and interesting, showing the petulance, heart, and life of a young girl in difficult circumstances as well as the strong, proud spirit of the early American settlers in the portrayals of such notables as ...more
Liz Fenwick
Feb 09, 2013 Liz Fenwick rated it it was amazing
I read this when I was about thirteen and this book has stayed with me always. I find even now I escape back to it in my mind. The power of the the books we read growing up never ceases to amaze me. I need to find a copy and reread it.
This was a perennial favorite of mine, growing up. I checked it out of the library time and time again... As a young girl, you live through the Pilgrim settlement of Plymouth with Constance, who is one of the original settlers. Interestingly, her family is not a part of the core group of puritans, so her take is a little bit of an outsider's view of how things worked. (Incidentally, this story is where I first encountered the Miles Standish / John Alden / Priscilla love triangle -- I was disappo ...more
M.J. Prest
Nov 12, 2014 M.J. Prest rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was originally assigned reading in fifth grade but it turned into a book that stayed with me always. I think I may get even more out of it as an adult.

Imagined as a first-person diary by a real-life teenage settler of Plymouth, a vivid portrait of early America and the intensity of the unknowns the pilgrims faced in the New World. Though written for a middle grade audience, it doesn't shy away from darker themes: suicide, child death, simmering threats of starvation and ruin. But each is h
Miss Amanda
gr 6-8 ? 255 pgs

1620-1626 Told in diary format by 15 year old -21 year old Constance. Readers follow Constance as she begins the story hating her new life in Plymouth and disliking her stepmother and gradually learns to love them both.

I would recommend this story to readers gr 6+ because the second half of the book seems to focus on Constance and her various suitors and the story ends with her marriage.
Juli Anna
Jul 14, 2016 Juli Anna rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-ya
This was a childhood favorite of mine, and I was not disappointed reading it all these years later. This book imagines the life of a real Mayflower passenger, Constance Hopkins, who came to Plymouth as a teenager. I really appreciated the way that she is characterized in this book; the author does not try to pin down her character too much or make her unrealistically consistent, which I feel is a common problem in depicting teenage girls. Constance is at once curious, coquettish, kindly, selfish ...more
This was one of my favorite books growing up. I got to thinking about it fondly recently and decided to see if my library system had a copy so I could reread it. Luckily they did, but they must have had to dig it out of some fifth level subbasement, because the book was VERY musty and stinky. In fact, I could only read it it small doses because I would start sneezing and literally get a headache. I had to hold the darn thing at arm's length to read. But I love this book so much that I suffered t ...more
Young Adult Historical Vault
Aug 20, 2016 Young Adult Historical Vault rated it really liked it
A classic of YA historical fiction, this book has everything--drama, sorrow, joy, pride, hard work, envy, you name it. Constance is a realistic teenage girl, with all her flaws and good points, and the supporting characters have their own good points and bad points as well. Funny and engaging and sweet without being saccharine, well-written and interesting even when covering points like financial entanglements and political conflicts, which is a real coup in a book aimed at the 10 and up crowd. ...more
Kristen Averett
Sep 06, 2016 Kristen Averett rated it it was amazing
Shelves: engl-420
Constance Hopkins comes to the new world on the Mayflower. The many different difficulties these first settlers faced are accurately portrayed, such as hunger, sickness and death, lack of supplies, and working with the Native American Indian tribes. It also tells about how the colony expanded and the desire Constance has to find a good husband. Her feisty attitude leads to some fun situations as she tries to find the best fit. Written as her diary, it shows the emotions
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Patricia Clapp was born in Boston and attended the Columbia University School of Journalism. Her first novel, Constance: A Story of Early Plymouth, was a runner-up for the 1969 National Book Award for Children's Literature. Her other books include, I'm Deborah Sampson, King of the Dollhouse, Dr. Elizabeth, and Jane-Emily. She also authored many plays for children.
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