When does this book take place?
There is no clear "when" for this book. It could take place any time in the 1900's or before since Jenny's grandfather, a sailor, has drowned as a result of a shipwreck. Jenny has come for the first time to her family's oceanside home to help her grandmother through her injury. Jenny's father, still angry and hurt by his father's death, has never returned and has never brought Jenny to the home or even the ocean.
Actually, there is an answer to this question. If you read pages 9 and 23 you will be able to do the math and come up with an answer. It has been 30 years since the Amaryllis was swallowed by the sea. George was born in '36 and saw the ship go down when he was 14 years old. If you add the two numbers together you get '50, then add the 30 years since the ship went down and the year is '80. The only guess the reader has to make is the century. The Cape Cod area was heavy into trade with this type of ship in the 1800s, therefore the answer is 1880. You can do the same math with Natalie Babbitt's other book Tuck Everlasting and the year is the same, 1880. When I complete my Author Study with my classes we compute this and the kids are amazed!