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Part modern folktale, part American pastroal, part domestic drama about the forging of hard-won trust and love between old and young, this novel fashions something fresh, comic and moving out of a hackneyed and sentimental storyline. Dallas and Florida, 13-year-old twin boy and girl, have been abandoned as babies by their mother and raised in a Dickensian orphanage, unsuccessfully farmed out at intervals to a succession of equally Dickensian foster-parents. At 13, not surprisingly, they are suspicious of the entire human race except each other. When an elderly couple of would-be foster-parents called Tiller and Sairy turn up, allegedly to recruit the children as companions on eccentric journeys, things do not look promising. But starting from the couple's remote cabin in an unspoilt valley called Ruby Holler, a sequence of comic misadventures forges a durable bond between old and young, with Ruby Holler itself as the magical catalyst for change. A lively and enjoyable reworking of familiar stuff.