Monday, November 1, 2010
by Laurie Halse Anderson
Seeds of America, book two
In this compelling sequel to Chains, a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson shifts perspective from Isabel to Curzon and brings to the page the tale of what it takes for runaway slaves to forge their own paths in a world of obstacles—and in the midst of the American Revolution.
The Patriot Army was shaped and strengthened by the desperate circumstances of the Valley Forge winter. This is where Curzon the boy becomes Curzon the young man. In addition to the hardships of soldiering, he lives with the fear of discovery, for he is an escaped slave passing for free. And then there is Isabel, who is also at Valley Forge—against her will. She and Curzon have to sort out the tangled threads of their friendship while figuring out what stands between the two of them and true freedom. (description taken from Amazon.com)
I have to be honest. When Chains was put on the Teen Nutmeg Nominees list this year (our CT book award), I was not superenthused to read it. Not that I don't like historical fiction - on the contrary, I'm finding that I enjoy it...a lot! What put me off was the cover...and the fact that Lester's Day of Tears had been on the list recently (a really heavy slavery related book). I dreaded reading it. Then I sat down and plunged in...and loved it.
So, when this one came in the mail to review, I was excited! I still don't really like the covers, but the content, oh...the content. Anderson has a way of making slavery into a very approachable topic. She doesn't hit readers over the head with the "issues," but causes readers to examine them in a very natural way.
In Forge, the narration shifts from Isabel to Curzon and I loved the change! Isabel's story was great in the first novel, but through Curzon's eyes, we get to experience the day to day life of a soldier in the American Revolution (*I was typing too fast before and put in the Civil War...whoops! Thanks, Miriam, for catching that!!). Very cool...make that cold...and hungry...and tired...and, well...you get the idea. It's a whole new perspective on the time period.
I really loved getting to meet some of the soldiers and see the conditions that they lived in. I hadn't really thought about it in detail before. It also really made me think about what runaway slaves did to try and find ways to survive after their initial escape.
For anyone who loves historical fiction, I'd definitely recommend Chains. If you read that and loved it...then what are you waiting for? Go grab Forge now!! Oh, btw - the audiobook version is very good, too!
Full disclosure: Audio book sent for review by SLJ.