Rave Reviews Log: Historical Fiction

July 20, 2009


By Anna Myers
Era: Revolutionary war America (Connecticut)
Rating: 3 1/2 stars

Some may know that patriot Nathan Hale's last words were: "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." But what was Nathan Hale's history? What lead him to be hanged as a spy for the rebels? In this story, Myers tells the tale of peaceful young schoolmaster Nathan Hale and in alternating chapters tells of young Jonah, one of Nathan's fervent pupils who is living with his Tory cousin, Samuel Hale, after the death of his parents. Nathan is idealistic and as news filters in about the injustices done to Boston via their ruling land of England, he begins to find his sympathies lie more and more with the rebels. However, he still hopes for a peaceful resolution. Meanwhile, his cousin Samuel sides firmly with the king, and is garnering more and more illwill from the townfolk. Jonah feels caught in-between for he does not want to be on either side. But when word of the battle at Lexington and Concord reaches Nathan, he knows it is time for him to sign up with the Continental Army and fight for freedom. Meanwhile, Samuel Hale, with his family and Jonah and his sister in tow, head to New York to avoid the ire of the town. It is when Jonah sees his old schoolmaster again in New York that he discovers a terrible truth about Nathan Hale--a truth that will haunt him forevermore. Readers will learn about the sacrifices that Nathan made for his conviction and the hard choices that a person like Jonah must make for what he believes in.

July 15, 2009

The Edge on the Sword

By Rebecca Tingle
Era: medieval Britain (800's)
Rating: 4 1/2 stars

In this excellent bit of medieval history set in the 800's in Great Britain, 15 year old Aethelflaed is the daughter of the West Saxon King Alfred. She is happy living her quiet life becoming educated in the scriptorium by the priests and slipping away with her brother Edward to the woods. Then she is dismayed to discover her father has bethrothed her to the Mercian leader, Ethelred. She is even more unhappy to discover that a man has been sent to watch her every move to protect her from those who might oppose the union--a Mercian man named Red who wears the bonds of slavery. Disgruntled, Flaed begins to experiment with ways to slip away from her careful guard, even as she begins to like him. But her stubborn bid for a moment alone comes at a cost--one day when she does manage to elude Red, Flaed is abducted by some men awaiting just this opportunity. After Red rescues her, a decision is reached. Flaed must learn how to protect herself and how to lead, however reluctantly she may wish for these skills. There are many exciting scenes in this novel, and readers will be pleased to discover that Aethelflaed not only was a real person, but one of the most famous female leaders remembered from that period. Thumbs up for an excellent piece of historical fiction.