I just finished devouring this historical fiction novel set in Revolutionary America where war is waging between the patriots and loyalists, and slavery and disease are rampant. Isabele is a young slave living in rural Rhode Island with her younger sister Ruth, when they are sold to a cruel, loyalist family in New York. Isabele is an amazing character, full of strength, tenacity and an agile mind that finds ways, despite many setbacks, to continue to fight for her freedom. Her love for her sister and ability to reclaim her unbreakable spirit are heart wrenching. Laurie Halse Anderson does such an incredible job recreating this time period with her obvious extensive research. I truly felt as if I were there, walking the streets of New York in 1776. I am sure this is the reason I read this book so quickly. The appendix contains some great historical questions and answers by the author that could assist readers, teachers and parents with further discussion about the book and this time period. I will forewarn readers, without giving anything away, that this is the first in the American Seeds trilogy and the ending is most definitely a cliffhanger. (I am anxious to get my hands on “Forge” – Book #2 and will have to await the release of “Ashes” – Book #3 due out later this year.) I picked this book as part of my ongoing quest to read all of the titles in this year’s Oregon Battle of the Books. While the story is told from the perspective of a 13 year old girl, I am sure that most young (and older) adults will find this story engaging and worthwhile and you certainly don’t need to be a history buff (I am definitely not) to enjoy.
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Publisher: Simon and Schuster