Review: Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Published: 2008
By: Atheneum
Series: Seeds of America
Source: FMPL
Format: Hardcover
ISBN:  9781416905851

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.


In Rhode Island, two young girls are torn from their planned life of freedom once the death of their mistress comes upon the household, but they are greedily sold by the mistress’ only living relation and, upon doing so, the girls begin a long voyage on the ocean to their new masters home in New York.

Although these girls were promised freedom in the their departed mistress’ will, the changing times of war forced the lawyer to flee the state and take along all his paperwork and that will, which appointed Isabelle, Ruth, and their mother – should she have survived to see the day – free slaves.

This whole novel, although fiction, is a significant recollection of an important history in the late 1700’s in the United States of America. A battle between the Americans and the British. New York is where everything is occurring, from the war to the fact that this is where Isabelle and Ruth call home. This book is written by chapter of nearly a year in the late 1700’s which is the tail end of the American Revolution, or a Declaration of Independence was made. Isabelle and Ruth’s new masters were supporters of the Crown (Loyalists). Which was a big no-no, and Isabelle soon learned quickly that she couldn’t trust either side to get what she wanted and needed to go about things her way.

I truly enjoyed this series, and am looking forward to when I can get back down to the public library to check-out the second book of the series, Seeds of America, and find out what happens to Isabelle and her stolen prisoner Curzon Bellingham, a slave to a rebel leader, as they set out to seek Isabelle’s little sister, Ruth, whom was given to a family in Charleston because the mistress didn’t want to deal with Ruth’s epileptic health issues.

4 Star signature


About Black ' n Write Reviewer

Library Tech grad who is currently working on a BA in Political Science and filling all her time with books.
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4 Responses to Review: Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

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