In the midst of the turbulent 1960s and the Vietnam War, the young girls in Miss Renshaw's class have no idea what a simple outing to the gardens will bring them. What begins as a field trip ends as an unforgettable experience when their teacher never returns after their outing. The girls are left questioning the events of the afternoon and the significance of their teacher's disappearance. They struggle over telling the truth or remaining faithful to their promise to Miss Renshaw not to tell anyone about the mysterious cave where they last saw their teacher. The events of the afternoon bring the eleven little girls together even as they leave childhood and enter adulthood.
Ursula Dubosarsky's The Golden Day proved to be a thought provoking, complex book that left me with more questions than answers. I am still haunted by the tragic innocence of the little girls, and the insidious chain of events that propel them into adulthood. The time period and setting were intruiguing, but I would have like more of an explanation on the event that sets the novel in motion: the hanging of the man on the morning of Miss Renshaw's disappearance. I enjoyed seeing the friendships blossom between the girls, especially Cubby and Icara, but some events were confusing, such as the death of Icara's mother. The ambiguous ending left me somewhat unsettled, but I would not hesitate to read this book again.