We first met Mina Pigot in the first book, Mina. We knew her as Daniel. She dressed like a boy to protect herself. We also met Mr. Benjamin Serle who was the cook in the big house. He knows Mina's real identity, he goes along with her and keeps her secret.
In Bread and Dreams, they both are on their way to New York. The year is 1848. Mr. Serle is the cook on the ship, Mina/Daniel is his helper and his nephew.
After landing in New York, Mina feels she has to leave her other self behind. She feels her brother, the real Daniel would not understand if he met her as a lad and not a lass. Soon she and Mr. Serle start living separate lives, they still see each other but not on a day to day basis. Mina soon has adventure after adventure. She sells all sorts of tobacco in the hotel where her brother works. She is living with two women, aunt and niece, whom soon consider Mina a part of their little family. She then starts working as a live-in cook for the Westervelt family. When the son of this wealthy family attacks her, Mina decides she must leave New York. Her brother is now in California, she feels she has no purpose to stay. While she misses her friends Mina slowly heals both in mind and body. She begins helping another one of her friends on the Erie Canal. They deliver items by boat. While doing this, she discovers a woman about to give birth. She also discovers the woman has a small son, the woman dies in child birth, Mina brings the boy on the boat. She soon discovers this is no place for him. When her friend tells her about his farm in Uncas Falls, New York, Mina takes him up on his offer to live at his farm.
Once she has been there for a while she writes to her friends in New York to tell them the story of how she wound up there with the small child. She reconnects with them, including Mr. Serle. As this time Mina realizes she has strong feelings for him, but thinks he is not interested in her that way.
To find out the rest of Mina’s incredible story you need to read both of these wonderful books. It was amazing to read all about Mina’s trials and tragedies. She always seem to bounce back on her feet. She had some interesting friends and at times was innocence in its purest form. I compare watching Mina grow and mature into a young woman to watching a tulip open up in slow motion. There is something magical happening, and you get to be part of it. I highly recommend this book.