Review: NEW YORK by Edward Rutherfurd

new yorkCanadian Bookworm recently read and reviewed New York by Edward Rutherfurd for the American Revolution Reading Challenge 2013.  Here’s an excerpt:

The time covered here is 1664 to 2009 and characters include natives, Dutch, English, slaves, freemen, Irish, Italians, and Puerto Ricans. There are Quakers, Catholics, Anglicans, other Protestants, and Jews.

In the Revolutionary War period, we have a father and son on opposite sides of the struggle, and detail on the tax and representation issues that led to the war.

Read the full review.

**Attention participants: Remember to email us a link to your reviews, and we’ll post them here so we can see what everyone is reading!**

Review: THE CROSSING by Jim Murphy

the crossingBook Snob recently read and reviewed The Crossing by Jim Murphy for the American Revolution Reading Challenge 2013.  Here’s an excerpt:

The Crossing is an excellent historical retelling of the beginning of the American Revolution.  It is full of maps, pictures, and even gives a description of the famous painting on the cover by Emmanuel Gottlieb Leutze.

If you want to know the true story of the beginning of the American Revolution told in eloquent, simplified text you need to check out The Crossing.

Read the full review.

**Attention participants: Remember to email us a link to your reviews, and we’ll post them here so we can see what everyone is reading!**

Review: THE LOYALIST’S WIFE by Elaine Cougler

The Loyalist's Wife_cover_Mar18.inddUnabridged Chick recently read and reviewed The Loyalist’s Wife by Elaine Cougler for the American Revolution Reading Challenge 2013.  Here’s an excerpt:

The writing style is straightforward, although occasionally too simplistic for my tastes (I sometimes felt as if rather intense moments were breezed over now and then, to my disappointment; I would have loved to dig in and really sit with some of these deeply distressing times!).  The point-of-view switches every few chapters from Lucy to John, which I found a little maddening; while I appreciate what it does to build tension, it made me want to scream when the switch happened at a particularly tense moment or when I was really ‘in’ one particular character’s psyche.

Read the full review.

**Attention participants: Remember to email us a link to your reviews, and we’ll post them here so we can see what everyone is reading!**

Review: FORGE by Laurie Halse Anderson

Savvy Verse & Wit recently read and reviewed Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson for the American Revolution Reading Challenge in 2013.  Here’s an excerpt:

Forge has a dual meaning in that the army’s mettle, as well as Curzon and Isabel’s, are tested, and these characters must forge ahead and overcome the challenges they face.  In a literal sense, Curzon tries to create a counterfeit of himself and pass himself off as a free man to become a soldier, as well as a key’s likeness to turn the lock on freedom.

Read the full review.

 

**Attention participants: Remember to email us a link to your reviews, and we’ll post them here so we can see what everyone is reading!**

Review: WOODS RUNNER by Gary Paulsen

Books and Movies recently read and reviewed Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen for the American Revolution Reading Challenge in 2013.  Here’s a sample:

Paulsen knows how to write about boys for boys. His character was a real boy, placed in an impossible situation, who rose to the occasion and yet still retained his youth. I also enjoyed the short sections between chapters, in which Paulsen gives the reader a little information about the history and conditions of the time period.

Read the full review.

**Attention participants: Remember to email us a link to your reviews, and we’ll post them here so we can see what everyone is reading!**

Review: CHAINS by Laurie Halse Anderson

Savvy Verse & Wit and Scrappy Cat both posted reviews of the read-a-long book, Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson, for the American Revolution Reading Challenge in 2013.  Here’s an excerpt from Savvy Verse & Wit:

Anderson’s young adult novel deftly balances the cruelty of slavery with the sensibilities of young adults, ensuring that the abuse and cruelty is never more than young readers can handle. However, there are some instances that do become graphic, but it is essential to demonstrate the fates that faced a number of slaves, especially those who attempted or even thought about escaping their masters.

Read the full review.

Here’s an excerpt from Scrappy Cat:

I thought the book was well written and I probably would not have read it if it hadn’t been for the read-along, because I don’t usually read young adult books (which this book is).

Read the full review.

***This just in, a review from The Children’s War.  Here’s a snippet:

Isabel is a very strong willed girl and Mrs. Lockton knows it and is determined to break that will and so she is constantly trying to tighten the chains of slavery that bind Isabel.  Yet, it takes a while for the realization that Mrs. Lockton cannot chain her soul to really sink in to Isabel’s consciousness, even though all her actions had always already proven it to be true.

Read the full review.

**Attention participants: Remember to email us a link to your reviews, and we’ll post them here so we can see what everyone is reading!**

Final Week: Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson Read-a-Long

Today is the end of our group read-a-long of Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson.  Please beware that the answers and questions could contain spoilers.

This week we read Chapters 37-the end, and we hope you’ll leave your comments and/or answers to the questions after the post.

If you’re interested in reading our thoughts on the first 10 chapters, go here.  For Chapters 11-24, go here.  For Chapters 25-36, click here.

We welcome you to post your thoughts on your blog and provide a link or just type your thoughts in the comments section of the discussion post; whatever works best for you. You can answer our questions or just discuss whatever you found most interesting in each section.

Isabel refers to chains quite a few times throughout the novel, and in this section, she says that Mrs. Lockton could not chain her soul.  How true do you think that would be over time — had she stayed in the Lockton household?  In what ways do you think she has been or is still chained?

Serena:  I think that her soul is still free here, even though she’s had a hard time maintaining the hope of freedom.  But I feel that if she had stayed in the household, had not felt the power within herself to read Common Sense or to keep her rebellious spirit alive that she would have become chained in that house.  The house, particularly with Mrs. Lockton in charge, is a dark place that seems to oppress those that live there.  I do think that she’s still chained down by her status as a slave and because of her race, which at this time was a big hurdle to overcome.  She also is reined in by the brand on her face.

What did you think of Isabel’s recapturing her brand as her own, rather than as a burden on her — like how her father held his branding with pride as a part of who he was?

S:  I thought the brand was a chain holding her back for some time, until she decided to grab hold of it and consider it not a brand of insolence, but of her name.  I did think that perhaps she would have taken a hold of the “I” as a symbol of “independence.”  But I think taking it as a symbol of her own name is just as good.

Speaking of names, what did you think about Isabel’s new name, Isabel Gardener?

S:  I really liked the connection of her new name to her past and to her possible future — the planting of new roots after gaining her freedom.

In terms of Lady Seymour, she seemed to be sympathetic toward Isabel and her plight, but it also seems like she still thinks of her property.  Did you have any opinions on her continued views in spite of the war and her daughter-in-law’s treatment of Isabel?

S:  I think she’s probably someone who still thinks of these slaves as lower class than herself and her peers, but that she’s not so elevated as to think of slaves as animals that should be beaten into submission.  While she tells Isabel that she wanted to buy her for her own household, she doesn’t seem inclined to tell her one way or the other if she would have freed Isabel.  Lady Seymour is a conundrum, but I think her behaviors and perceptions would have been common enough at the time.

Finally, what are your final thoughts on Chains?

S:  I really enjoyed getting to know Isabel and her sister, and I’m hopeful that the next book will lead to the location of her sister, but I’m sure Isabel has more challenges to face, especially as the war continues and eventually winds down.  I’m quite impressed with Anderson’s handling of slavery, especially the abusive parts.

(Due to an insanely busy week, Anna and The Girl are a bit behind in their reading and will post their thoughts in the comments once they’ve finished.)

What did you think?  Feel free to pose your own questions in the comments as well!  Thanks for joining us!

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