The Color of Freedom
Written by Michelle Isenhoff
I was greatly impressed with this work of historical fiction intended for children and adults age ten and up. While I had not previously read any of this author’s works, I found the language to be crisp and refreshing and the pace just right. The physical descriptions allow the reader to visualize these colorful characters living in Massachusetts, 1774, poised on the brink of rebellion. “ A dray rumbled by. The shoes of the heavy workhorses clomped on the cobbles. Somewhere very close, church bells pealed out the hour. In a moment, the sound was echoed from churches in every quarter. There could be no mistaking the hour in Boston.”
But do not think this is a novel about the war events themselves, the stress in the book is on how these events affected the minds of the characters who were manipulated by them. Here is a brief summary. At the outset, the reader meets fourteen year old Meadow Wynn, an indentured servant in Lord Dennison’s home. Meadow hates the British because she and her Irish tenant farmer father were thrown off their lands and forced to indenture themselves to gain passage to America. Once they arrived, Meadow and her father Amos were separated. All she knows is that he is somewhere in Boston. Her miserable life becomes worse when her master tries to assault her. She knocks him out with an iron griddle and hides in the barn. Her friend, Daniel disguises her as a boy and devises an escape plan. So begins a journey of adventures! As Meadow frantically searches for her father, she finds the British redcoats everywhere and the Patriots scrambling to uncover their plans. Many surprises await her. The knowledge of horses provided to her by Daniel allows her to link up with a traveling merchant named Salizar and later accrue a job in the British army’s stable. Meadow does eventually locate her father. To her dismay he is working for a member of the Sons of Liberty. The reader is drawn into all the intrigues and subterfuges of battle on both sides and the psychological and physical torment it leaves on the women and children of their families.
As the battle unfolds, everything in Meadow’s life seems to fall apart; she is in danger of being captured as a traitor by both sides, her friends’ lives are in shambles, and she learns that each side has its faults-nothing is black and white. Much like the life of tweens and teens today, Meadow is questioning who she is and how can she fit in to the crazy events happening around her. She has no other choice but to work hard and make difficult choices; otherwise she will die. There are many twists and turns to the plot, and some real surprises as well.
I read the kindle version which also included a free link to download the author’s first book in a Civil War trilogy, Divided Decade Trilogy, by the name of The Candle Star. Looking forward to reading that one as well. The trailer for the book (also linked) presented the story superbly. Some readers may be aware of the fact that Michelle Isenhoff has also written young adult fantasy novels with colorful characters and settings as well. They are available online. If you enjoy fantasy and adventure, check them out.
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