This January, our guest will be Sarah Miller, author of Miss Spitfire and The Lost Crown.
Chances are, you’ve already heard of Miss Spitfire. It’s the childhood nickname of Annie Sullivan, companion and teacher of Helen Keller, a deafblind girl in late 19th century America who later rose, with the tireless assistance of Annie Sullivan, to international fame for her achievements. The incredible true story of these women is recorded in history books and has been an inspiration to millions.
In Miss Spitfire, Sarah Miller presents a fictionalized account of Annie Sullivan’s first arrival at the Keller house and her struggle to reach 6-year-old Helen, who is wild, stubborn, violent, and trapped inside her head with no awareness of words or their meaning. Any other teacher might have been daunted by the task, but not Annie. Raised in orphanages, state institutions, and nearly blind herself, Annie was tough, resourceful, and just as willful as her young pupil. Within a few weeks, Annie had reached Helen and given her the words and concepts she needed to finally connect her mind with the world. Annie would remain with Helen as teacher and companion for the next forty-nine years.
Miss Spitfire is a captivating read. Instead of painting the story in gentle, glossy tones, Miller focuses on the struggles, the doubts, and even the physical battles between Annie and Helen while also bringing to light the pain and sorrow of Annie’s past. While this could result in a sad tale, it absolutely doesn’t. By showing the hard road Annie and Helen traveled, it makes the little triumphs and the final tremendous breakthrough all the more powerful, golden, and inspiring. It is an amazing book.
In addition to Miss Spitfire, Sarah Miller has written The Lost Crown, a young adult novel that details the life and eventual downfall of the family of Czar Nicolas the II of Russia in the early 1900s. The paperback version of The Lost Crown was released in July of this year.
Author photo by Janelle Hamrick Photography