By: Laurie Halse Anderson
Call #: YA Fic Ander. L.
Sisters Isabel and Ruth have been slaves their whole lives. Miss. Mary Finch, their owner, has just passed away. Miss. Finch promised Isabel they would be freed upon her death and even made it legal with a lawyer. But now that lawyer is gone and Miss. Finch’s son, Robert, wants to make a few bucks off them and sells them straight away. To make matters worse Ruth and Isabel are sold to a cruel loyalist family, the Locktons, who reside in New York, far from their home in Rhode Island.
It’s the middle of the revolutionary war and Isabel is determined to get her and her sister their freedom. After meeting a young slave, Cruzon, whose owner fights with the rebels Isabel thinks that she can trade information about Loyalists in return for her safe passage to freedom. Things don’t go as planned and as the war intensifies in New York, things go from bad to worse in the Lockton house, but Isabel is a survivor. If the rebels won’t help her maybe the British will. Chains, is an excellent and devastating piece of historical fiction, it illustrates the hardships of the war and the extreme cruelty of people, but also the determination of others. After reading the first in this series, you’ll want to delve into the rest.
Tags: historical fiction, middle school, African American