Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
My Rating: 5 Stars
Challenges: Library, New Author, 100 +
Even though I have only read 7 books so far this year I can pretty much guarantee that Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson will be topping my list of 2009 favorites.
This story and particularly the character of Isabel captured my heart and would not let it go. I didn't really realize I was doing it but Chains was literally a nail biter for me.
Isabel's story begins in the early months of 1776. Her owner, Mrs. Finch, has promised Isabel and her sister that they will be freed upon her death. Unfortunately, Mrs. Finch's nephew and heir sees things very differently and Isabel, along with her sister Ruth are sold to a cruel loyalist couple in New York City. Isabel is determined to protect her sister and to gain the freedom that rightfully belongs to them. She will get caught up in both Patriot and British schemes in hopes of finding freedom through either side.
Every character in this book was crafted perfectly. From Isabel's cruel and vindictive owner, Mrs. Lockton, to the many characters like Lady Seymour and Sarah, the British soldier wife, who show kindness toward Isabel but are never able to step past the conventions of their time and really help Isabel.
Chains is somewhat unique in that it explores the issue of slavery in Rhode Island and New York during the Revolution and not the south during the Civil War. The historical detail and depth of the characters really brought this book to life.
Compelling and emotionally moving, Chains is a brilliant work of historical fiction.
Oh, and I love the way the cover illustrates how Isabel is chained between the British and the Patriots as she struggles for her freedom. Beautiful!