A slave and her family find refuge on Roanoke Island, North Carolina, during the Civil War.
"Gr. 7-10. Like Myers' The Glory Field (1994), this is a docunovel in which the history is much more interesting than the fiction. Forrester writes about a community of runaway slaves who have found freedom and land on Roanoke Island during the Civil War. The focus is on young Maddie and her family, first on the old plantation and then as they escape to the island, set up homes, and find schools and paid work there. Maddie's personal coming-of-age story seems contrived at times, especially her conflict with her mother and their later reconciliation. But the story gives a vivid sense of the times, both the sorrow and the triumph: no graciousness in the big house or coziness in the quarters, but savagery for the runaway who was caught. Maddie's courage and intelligence help her make it, but there's no happily-ever-after ending. Some Yankees were as bigoted as their enemies, and after the war, the runaways were driven off the island. Forrester has rescued a forgotten piece of history. --Hazel Rochman"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"As the Civil War rages, 11-year-old Maddie and her family live enslaved on a plantation in North Carolina. First-novelist Forrester conveys the setting with accuracy, but populates it with stock characters who either deal out or endure familiar hardships. The narrative ventures into unexplored territory, though, when the family escapes from their owners' summer home on the Outer Banks to a Union-held island. They build a house and, for the duration of the war, remain there in a model community, which Forrester bases on a settlement that did exist on Roanoke Island. Maddie's father joins the Union Army, and she teaches reading and "ciphering," first on her own and then as the assistant of a Northern teacher, Miss James. The development of themes and plot lines is fairly conventional, but the author's focus on the Roanoke Island community gives this work unusual interest. Ages 10-14. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved