This past weekend I finished Laurie Halse Anderson's new book entitled Chains. As the title and cover image suggest, this book deals with African American slavery. A mix of factual history and historical fiction, this book takes place in the months before and the days of the American Revolution. The book spans about one year in the life of a slave girl named Isabel.
At the outset of this novel, Isabel is sold off after her original master dies. She and her sister were supposed to be set free, but a relative of her master comes in and sells her anyway. Remember, slaves did not have access to lawyers as did white Americans of this time period.
Isabel and her sister are sold off to a Tory-loving couple who live in the heart of New York City. These people are rich and have power, but are forced to hide their love of England when Revolutionaries come around. When war breaks out in New York City, Isabel and her sister are in danger. Her new masters become more and more cruel as the story progresses but Isabel endears herself to some pretty important people who are fighting against the English.
This is a remarkable story in that it weaves the history of those fighting for freedom from english tyranny in with those who are fighting for freedom from slavery. If you like series books, there is another book in this series entitled Forge on its way.
This book is available for your free reading purposes. Make sure to sign it out at the back of the room!