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As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight…for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.
From acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson comes this compelling, impeccably researched novel that shows the lengths we can go to cast off our chains, both physical and spiritual.
I have to come right out and admit that Laurie Halse Anderson is one of my favourite writers. I’ve read Speak, Wintergirls and The Impossible Knife Of Memory, so I’m trying to work my way through the rest of her work. I was really excited to dive into Chains. Even though I was very excited to read Chains, I wondered whether it would capture my attention. I had high hopes because it was Laurie Halse Anderson and because I love historical fiction. I thought Chains was incredibly captivating. I immediately loved Isabel and her sister Ruth.
Isabel and Ruth’s owner dies, Isabel believes that they will be free as their owner promised them freedom in their will. However, things aren’t that simple. Isabel and Ruth are sold to some rather cruel people. Their new owners live in New York and it is there, in New York, that they are brought to the forefront of the American War of Independence.
Chains is told through Isabel’s perspective and as I mentioned, I fell completely in love with her character and felt incredibly moved by her story. Isabel is living in a world where she has no control over her destiny. She tries to control her life but she can’t find anyone to trust. She can’t protect herself and her little sister. It’s clear how much Isabel loves her little sister Ruth. She’s incredibly protective. Ruth is seen as ‘simple-minded’ as she has epilepsy. Isabel wants to be there for her sister, but obstacles keep getting in the way. Isabel suffers so much in Chains, but she keeps going, determined to gain the freedom she deserves. After Ruth is taken to another owner, Isabel’s determination to be free grows. She tries not to let anything stand in her way.
Chains is a gruelling, yet addictive read. It’s well paced, and easy to read. The reader goes through so many obstacles with Isabel. Her owners are hidious and I really despised the way they treated Isabel in particular. It was hard to see Isabel go through physical and emotional torture. I’m definitely anticipating reading Forge which is the next book in the series, to see how Isabel’s journey progresses.
Would I recommend it?: