Wedded to War

Interest Level: High School/Adult

 

Forget being wedded to war, I am wedded to this book! I did NOT want to put it down, but I HAD to put it down a few times. This book made me cringe, gasp, moan in fear, sigh in frustration, and talk back to the characters. All of which are signs of a great novel.

Quick summary: Charlotte volunteers to be trained as a nurse for the Civil War. Her mom, sister, and suitor all disapprove of her decision. After training in New York, she is sent to Washington, D.C. to serve in the local hospital. There she is thrust into the hardships of being a woman in a male dominated world as well as the hardships of war. Woven throughout the war is Charlotte’s personal struggle with following her calling and what society deems appropriate.

Long summary: Charlotte is considered a spinster because she is 28 and not yet wed. She is being courted by Phineas Hastings, a wealthy New Yorker. Much to his chagrin, Charlotte volunteers to be trained as a nurse for the war. He figures this will be a short term infatuation and she will eventually put it all behind her and marry him. A few chapters in, we are introduced to Ruby, an Irish immigrant also living in New York. She is struggling to make ends meet and her husband Matthew recently shipped off to war. She finds herself in Five Points seeking work. She meets the a group of women who place women of high moral character but low socioeconomic status as domestics.

As fate would have it, Ruby is placed in the house of Phineas’ mother. There she meets the ill tempered Phineas. Phineas feels the need to control all the women in his life and out of fear for something Ruby overheard, he rapes her. Once violated Ruby takes to a life of prostitution. She meets Dr. Blackwell at her office in Five Points. There Dr. Blackwell matched Ruby up with a job in Washington, D.C. She is put under the care of… you guessed it, Charlotte. Ruby works hard and diligently and doesn’t know of Phineas’ and Charlotte’s connection until months after being in D.C.  

Charlotte, her sister Alice, and Ruby continue to work for the Sanitary Commission. All the while, Phineas is attempting to retrieve Charlotte and convince her to marry him. Phineas’ stoops to some really low levels in order to protect his wealth. It is his character that caused all of the emotions mentioned at the beginning of this post. 

I do not want to say too much more for fear of ruining the story and for you chance to make faces such as mine! (Note: these are from my instastory!)

Cautions:

*Phineas is a terrible man. He does rape Ruby and then blackmail her about it.

*Prostitution is discussed and for a short time Ruby is a prostitute.

*Ruby toys with idea of abortion and suicide.

*This novel is set during war, as such, wounds, fever, and amputations are all discussed.

*Be prepared to discuss abusive treatment or thoughts toward women.

Overall, this book is AMAZING!! I have not felt this kind of reaction to a book in a long time. I had to put it down and walk away a few times from frustration with the characters!! But I could not wait to come back to it! Jocelyn Green also does a wonderful job weaving in Biblical truths that stand the test of time. I love how Charlotte, Caleb, Edward, and Ruby all quote scripture to each other as a form of encouragement and love.

 

Lesson Plan Ideas:

*Chapter Two discusses the secession of Virginia and the attack on Union forces in Baltimore. Research the city of Baltimore and why they might attack Union forces. What was Lincoln’s response? You can check out The Hour of Peril as a resource for this. 

*Research all the historical figures in this novel:

-Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell

-Dorothea Dix

-Robert E. Lee

-Abraham Lincoln

-George B. McClellan

-Frederick Law Olmsted

-General Winfield Scott (Scott’s Great Snake/Anaconda Plan)

 

*Research the inspiration for Charlotte: Georgeanna Woolsey

*Research the battles mentioned:

-Bull Run

-The Peninsula Campaign

-The Second Battle of Bull Run

*Watch the scene from America the Story of US: Civil War about the minie ball

*Look into Five Points and the Irish Riots of 1863 (Watch Gangs of New York for mature readers or used selected scenes that show the Conscription Riots.)

*Chapter 19 mentions Rose Greenhow, the main character from Wild Rose. You could have your child read Wild Rose: The True Story of a Civil War Spy or research female spies in the Civil War.

*In chapter 30, Charlotte meets Marty, a fallen soldier. She learns that Marty is actually a woman. Look into female soldiers in the Civil War. There are some great scholarly works out there about female soldiers. They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the Civil War is an excellent resource.

*The end of the book offers an insight into the true parts of the novel, including social norms.

*Jocelyn Green offers a free supplemental guide on her website for this novel. 

Susan B. Anthony

Grade Level: Third

I am by no means an ardent down-with-man kind of woman, but I am proud to be a woman. I enjoy studying the women who fought so hard for me to have legal rights and a voice in my government. Susan B. Anthony is one such woman. I have actually had this book since I was in elementary school. Hopefully, it’ll last long enough for my future daughter(s) to read! 

Susan B. Anthony Champion of Women’s Rights written by Helen Albee Monsell is a quick, easy read as an introduction to Miss Anthony and the Women’s Rights Movement.

This book focuses on the childhood of Susan. We learn what her life was like in Massachusetts and why she moved to New York. We learn the struggles her family faced and the rare opportunities provided to Susan and her older sister.

Susan was allowed opportunities that most young women of her day were denied. She regularly attended school and her father even had a school room build in their Rochester home. She experienced the life a bobbin girl, a school teacher, and student of higher education. 

This book is not super well written. It jumps from scene to scene with very little transition. Out of nowhere, Susan suddenly had another sister. But the overall point is well made. Susan’s father was very progressive for his time. Not only did he ensure Susan had a good education, but her gave her experience in his mill. There Susan learned that legally a woman had no authority over her wages. That both children and wives had a legal obligation to give control of their wages to their husbands and fathers.

It was these experiences that opened her eyes to the needs of equality between men and women. This book is definitely a great read for a young girl first learning about the leaders of the Women’s Rights Movement. 

 

Lesson Ideas:

-The 8.24 TEKS states: The student understands the major reform movements of the 19th century. The student is expected to: (A)  describe the historical development of the abolitionist movement; and (B)  evaluate the impact of reform movements, including educational reform, temperance, the women’s rights movement, prison reform, abolition, the labor reform movement, and care of the disabled.

-Research Susan B. Anthony & Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s role in the Women’s Movement. (TEKS 8.22B  describe the contributions of significant political, social, and military leaders of the United States such as Frederick Douglass, John Paul Jones, James Monroe, Stonewall Jackson, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.)

-Watch America The Story of Us: Division; Discuss the effect of the Industrial Revolution on young girls. Compare that to what is described in the book.

-Watch Ken Burn’s Documentary: Not for Ourselves Alone; Compare the information about Susan’s childhood to what was read in the book.

-For Older Girls watch Iron Jawed Angels and Suffragette; discuss the struggles women faced. Why might not all woman agree on the need for change?

-Watch Bad Romance Women’s Suffrage by Soomo Publishing on youtube. (They took the lyrics and made it represent women’s rights. Super fun!)

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode

Wow! I don’t know if it’s the season of life I am in or just the truth in her words, but Crystal Paine (moneysavingmom.com) really hit the nail on the head with Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. This book was very encouraging. Originally, I thought it was going to speak to moms. Whenever I hear survival mode I think of two things: a teacher in her first year and new moms. But    this book is more than that.

I think it’s unfortunate how we can get carried away with our daily to dos & need to be busy that we forget life can be simple. Get sleep. Say No. Exercise. All of these things Crystal encourages us to do. She aptly reminds us that without these things our priorities can’t get done and we will experience burnout. 

Two things really hit home for me: stop trying to do it all & stop comparing myself to other women.

I am a new bride. I have only been married for 9 months. I know I jumped into marriage with both feet and a desire to be the best homemaker & wife I could be. I wanted to be in control of all the house duties: meal planning, cooking, cleaning, organizing, etc. But I quickly learned this was not going to be as easy as I thought. (Have I mentioned that I teach junior high?) I began to realize that I needed a priorities list. I needed to zero in on the things that were most important for this season. Otherwise, I was going to run myself ragged trying to complete all my duties at home and at work. Crystal writes, “If we want to say goodbye to survival mode, we need to make time for what really matters. This means we have to clear out the nonessential commitments. (17)”  While I still desire to be the best homemaker I can be, I am getting better at focusing on my priorities. If things don’t fall in line with them, then I say no.

“I think we, as women, are our worst critics. Comparison is one of the biggest traps to losing our momentum or giving up before we even start our journies to say goodbye to survival mode. It’s easy to want what we don’t have or see something better in others that we lack ourselves. (167)”  As I read this, I was jumping up & down shouting YES!! (Well, not literally, but I was in my head.) This is so true. Being a new bride does cause me to compare myself to others. I want to be organized and well put together. I want my husband to be proud to be married to me and excited to come home. Man, have I worked myself up in a comparison tizzy. It really does steal my joy. Thankfully, my husband is loving, gracious, and patient with me.

The other area where I struggle with comparison is Bible journaling and decorating my planner! It has become such a trend now, that you can find an infinite amount of videos, blogs, pictures, etc on it. I am by no means an artist, but I can’t get caught up comparing myself to others in this area. I certainly don’t want to give up my joy in the Lord because I am too busy wishing I could animate Bible verses better. Crystal goes on to say that we can’t make the most of who we are or our talents if we are too busy comparing ourselves to others. We can’t live with gratitude, intentionality or purpose. (167)

I feel like I could become quite long winded about the encouragement that is on every page of this book. So let me leave you with a few more of the things I loved:

 

  1. Crystal encourages us to create a priorities list. She gives you space to do so right in the book. Jami Balmet discusses this particular point more on her blog
  2. It is ok to say NO! (I am still working on this one.)
  3. I am excited to undertake her 4 weeks of declutter plan. I have a tendency to pick one drawer or cabinet to declutter. But I am excited to take a bigger chunk of space and declutter that. For more on decluttering, see How to Manage your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana K. White.

If you’re ready to start thriving and not just surviving, grab a copy of Crystal Paine’s Say Goodbye to Survival Mode!

The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen

The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen is every Jane Austen fans fantasy. To be the one who discovers a lost manuscript of THE Jane Austen! Could there be anything better??

Syrie James writes a wonderful What If? Novel. Samantha is no stranger to England as she started her Ph.D. studies there. While visiting with her boyfriend, she uncovers a clue that leads her to believe there is another Jane Austen work yet discovered. Samantha soon finds herself on a quest to find this missing manuscript. She attempts to get a hold of her old advisor but is unsuccessful. Eventually, she follows the clue to an estate in Greenbriar. There she meets the owner’s son, Anthony. Together they search the house in hopes of finding the missing novel.

After hours of searching, they discover the manuscript locked away. They come to the realization that it was not LOST but STOLEN by the original owner of the house. Eager to read the never before published story, Samantha and Anthony stay up all night taking turns reading. Samantha could never have predicted just where this new discovery would take her.

The novel is back and forth between Samantha & Anthony and the Stanhope Family of Jane Austen’s novel. Ms. James’ readers will find it easy to follow both stories. And might find themselves, as I did, wishing it really were a Jane Austen novel.

Syrie James did a wonderful job maintaining the Austenian way of writing. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. Overall, I believe the reader will be satisfied with both the ending of The Stanhopes and the ending of The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen.

A few cautions: Samantha puts herself in a few situations that are not wise for a woman in a serious relationship. It is clear that she is attracted to Anthony and she admits to wanting to kiss him. Amelia Davenport (a character in the missing novel) is very selfish and conniving. You could see through it pretty early on.
Overall, however, I found this a quite enjoyable fiction read.

Personalizing my Happy Planner Budget Section

If you follow me on instagram, there is no doubt that you have seen my love for my Happy Planner. I can’t help myself! When I first bought it, I posted a picture of my planner and my new inserts.

But once I finally started using it, I realized it wasn’t quite fitting all of my needs. The budget section needing the most modification. After I got past my desire for it to look super cute, I realized that I needed it to work for me. So, I personalized it… using white out!    It certainly has lost a little of the adorableness it had before, but let me tell you, it has been way more useful to me.

There are still some areas that do not quite fit how I need to write my budget. For example, I created a section for my hubby & me to have $100 of fun money a month. But there is not any space to itemize what we spend that money on, thus allowing us to ensure we stay in that budget. So, I started using sticky notes to help with that. 

You can also see where I modified it to fit our budget categories using my trusty white out.

All in all, I just wanted to share that while I want my planner to be super cute and live up to all the wonderfulness posted on Pinterest and instagram, I need it, first and foremost, to work for me!

5 Great Reads for Black History Month

 

Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons

Grade Level: Fourth

I can’t even deal! This book was so well written. Ann Rinaldi has written a wonderfully, heart-wrenching novel about Phillis Wheatley. I am ashamed to say I really did not know much about her other than she was a slave who was known for her poetry. The novel chronicles her story from the moment of abduction until the start of the American Revolution. Little is really known about her life, especially once she married.

This book would be a great accompaniment to any American Revolution study. There are a lot of important events in Boston that are mentioned. Phillis meets personally with Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.

A word of caution: the trip on the slaver is pretty intense for Phillis. Her mother is thrown overboard and she nearly starves to death. All Africans are referred to as negra or negro; the more derogatory term is not present in the novel. Phillis, while treated as a daughter of the Wheatley’s, is still seen as a slave. She may be relieved of many normal slave duties, but her masters, especially Nathaniel, still remind her of her place.

Lesson Ideas:

Research each Boston event she mentions.

Read her poems and compare any events to the novel.

Write your own poem about an important event or person in your life.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Grade Level: Fifth

I first read this book  in junior high. I do not really remember my initial thoughts, but on this go around, I thoroughly enjoyed it! This book is a powerful tale of the power of family and staying strong through adversity. The Logan Family is a great example of a strong family. They rely heavily on each other to get them through deaths of friends, threats, and fire. I think this should be a regular read for junior high students.

Caution: the N word is used regularly through this novel. Cassie gets into a fist fight with a girl who mistreats her. Some local African-Americans are attacked and severely burned by a group of whites. Cassie’s own father is attacked for encouraging people to shop in Vicksburg and not at the Wallace store. Stacy’s friend TJ gets in with the wrong crowd and is accused of killing a white man. He is brutally beaten and nearly lynched. This book does not sugar coat the difficulties African-American sharecroppers faced in the south. Mr. Morrison also shares the story of the deaths of his parents (pg 147-150).

Lesson Ideas:

Write a Journal Entry as Cassie explaining her thoughts on the books they received at the beginning of the novel.

Research sharecropping

Research Jim Crow Laws & segregation

Sounder

Grade Level: Fifth

This is a sweet story about a man and his dog. Set during the days of sharecropping, Sounder shows us the love between humans and dogs. There are no names used in this story. One day the boy’s father comes home with a ham we soon learn is stolen. Eventually, the sheriff comes to pick up the boy’s father. In the midst of his arrest, his dog is shot. Sounder runs off for months and the boy’s father is taken to jail and eventually put on a chain gang. Once Sounder returns, severely disfigured but well, the boy decides to venture off in search of his father. On one adventure, the boy befriends an old school teacher who asks him to stay so that the boy may receive an education. The boy’s mother agrees and he only returns to help with harvest. During the years, the boy’s father has been working only to return one day out of the blue. Do to a severe injury, they let him go. Now father and dog are both shells of their former selves. The boy’s father goes out one day alone, never to return. He passes away in the forest do to his injuries and hard labor. Sounder, too, passes soon after.

This book is only 116 pages but it packs an emotional punch! The arrest of the father is really harsh. He spends years on a chain gang for the theft of a ham.

I guess, in a way, this book is a coming of age story. It is based on a story told to the author.

Lesson Ideas:

Research sharecropping and Jim Crow laws

Write an alternative ending to the book.

Give all the characters names based on their character/personality.

Color Me Dark: The Diary of Nellie Lee Love, the Great Migration North

Grade Level: Fourth/Fifth

I loved the Dear America series when I was a young girl. It is so wonderful how the style of these books put you into the everyday thoughts of the character.

Nellie Lee Love is from Tennessee. It is 1919 and the Great War is over. Her family lives in a multi-generational home and runs a funeral business. The tensions in the south are increasing so Nellie’s father decided to move himself and two daughters to Chicago near his brother. There he will start a new funeral home and have a better life.

The Love family is truly a wonderful example of a family whose first priority is Jesus followed by family. They are not exempt from adversity even in Chicago but they never sway from their love for each other. While in Chicago Nellie and her family become more involved in the ever growing NAACP as well as the suffrage movement.

Cation: While swimming at the lake, a neighbor swims into the white’s section. He is so terrified by the uproar of the whites, that he drowns. This causes a massive riot in the streets of Chicago.

Lesson Ideas:

Write your own diary for a year.

Research the causes and battles of World War I.

Respond to Nellie’s comment on page 130: “Will there ever be a time when people stop hating and hurting one another?”

Respond to Reverend Prince’s comment on page 123: “Ignorance and fear breed violence. Knowledge is the only way to overcome intolerance.”

12 Years a Slave

Interest Level: High School/Adult

This book is a powerful true story told from the man himself. Solomon Northup was drugged and kidnapped by slave catchers. This was common practice in the north after the Fugitive Slave Law. Free blacks were warned not to talk to anyone they did not know. Solomon finds himself sold down south. For twelve years he will live the life of a hardworking plantation slave. Until, finally, one day he is reunited with his family.

Caution: this book is for mature audiences. It is a personal narrative set in the 1840s. There are very brutal scenes and hard truths. I would encourage any parent to read this book prior to allowing your child to read it.

 

This is an amazing primary source for sure!

Lesson Ideas:

Research other slave’s stories like Frederick Douglass.

Research newspaper articles warning of slave catchers.

Research the underground railroad and Harriet Tubman.

For further reading, check out some of my previous posts: Chains, Forge, Ashes, Flygirl, and Elijah

How to Manage Your Home without Losing Your Mind

I initially read this book as part of a 2017 Reading Challenge put together by Jami Balmet at a Young Wife’s Guide. As a newlywed, I am currently gobbling up any and every book on homemaking. When starting the challenge, I sat down and looked at all the titles and cross-referenced them with those on Audibles. This book was one of them. So I decided to use my free Audibles book in order to listen to this book. I AM SO GLAD I DID!!!

 

This book was wonderful! Ironically, I listened to it as I was doing the dishes and laundry. (I felt less guilty about listening if I was being productive.)

Dana K. White continually said, “ do what is best for you”. She never once said, “ do it like me!”. She spent the entire book offering practical advice all the while encouraging her readers in their deslobification journey. There were two specific ideals that stuck out to me:

  1. Just… do the dishes.
  2. Just declutter.

Long before this book, I started the habit of doing the dishes daily; sometimes multiple times a day. I can attest to what she says about the importance of just doing the dishes. It makes such a big difference when my kitchen is clean. (Sidenote: I started hand washing most of my dishes so that I can listen to a podcast or a book. This has become a great way to refill myself.)

About seven months ago, I watched Katie Bennett’s course in the Homemaking Mentor’s Academy. She discusses the amazingness of a simplified wardrobe. After listening to her course, I went through my closet. Several months later, I was bit by the bug again and I went through my closet again. (After rewatching her course.) This motivated me to start decluttering other parts of my apartment. The last few months, I have spent time really decluttering. I found Dana’s idea about decluttering to be great! She pointed out that decluttering is DIFFERENT from organizing. She felt less overwhelmed when she decluttered versus trying to organize. Because, let’s be real, how can we organize when we have so much stuff? A lot of what she said reminded me of Elsie Callendar’s lesson in 2016’s Online Homemaking Conference.

 

Dana does a great job of discussing the potential difficulty one might face decluttering. She also discusses the possible grief one might go through when decluttering. She also brings up the difficulty of telling people “No” when they ask you if you want something. She points out how difficult this is! But I thought her points were really very good. Do not take something out of guilt.

 

She also discusses the importance of having a donate-able box close by that you fill up and then donate!

If you feel like you don’t have the time to read, then this is the best book to listen to audibly. Dana is such a great writer and reader. Listening to her book was motivating and thoroughly enjoyable.
So, go get her book NOW and just… do the dishes!

Freak the Mighty

Grade Level: Fifth

“That’s how it started, really, how we got to be Freak the Mighty, slaying dragons and fools and walking high above the world.” You can’t help but become emotionally attached to the characters in Rodman Philbrick’s Freak the Mighty; It is truly a picture of Ecclesiastes 4:9. In this case, two are better than one and true friendship, no matter how short, can grow us into better people.

Kevin, an intelligent young man with a too small body, and Max, a giant of a boy with a too small brain, are next door neighbors. Each boy brings his strengths to the friendship and together they become Freak the Mighty.

Kevin pushes Max out of his comfort zone and challenges him to do more. Kevin teaches Max about adventure & friendship. They go on grand adventures vanquishing evil and saving damsels in distress. One such adventure, leads the boys to the rougher side of town where they come into contact with people who knew their parents. Kevin does not know his dad and Max’s dad is in jail for killing Max’s mom.  

There are two stories that are intertwined in this book: the adventures of the boys and the release of Max’s dad from prison. Most of the book builds up to the release of Kenny, Max’s dad. Both Max and his grandparents fear what he could one day become, but Kevin shows Max that he is more than Killer Kane’s son.

Awesomeness:

  • This book is about true friendship.
  • It is an amazing book about kids with mental and physical disabilities.
  • Kevin is OBSESSED with King Arthur.
  • Max is put into the “smart” classes because of Kevin and learns he is smarter than he thought.
  • This book shows that traumatic experiences really affect development.

Cautions:

  • Max’s dad, Kenny, sneaks into Max’s room and kidnaps him.
  • Kenny takes Max to the rougher side of town to the same couple Max and Kevin had met before. He breaks into an apartment for the night.
  • Eventually, Kenny will take Max to an abandoned building. There he nearly chokes Loretta to death. And he attacks Max.
  • Kevin’s organs are growing but his body is not. He eventually loses his battle with his health.
  • Alcohol being consumed; empty beer cans on the floor of the apartment.

Lesson Plan Ideas:

-Write your personal story down like Max did.

-Research the difficulties little people could have.

-Write a journal entry in response to Max’s comment on page 78: “I’m standing there with Freak high above me and it feels right, it makes me feel strong and smart.”

-Keep your own dictionary

-Teach a younger kid a new word!

-Create a different ending to the book

-You can access the film made by Nickelodeon on youtube

Book Fairs

I love a good book fair! This little book nerd gets so excited to see all the new, shiny books!

book-fair-2

As I was perusing our book fair, I started thinking about all the possibilities a kid could choose from. Nonfiction. Fiction. Historical fiction. Hardback. Paperback. Posters and bracelets! So much to choose from!!

 book-fair

Many kids do not know exactly what they are looking at or know how to choose a book that’s best for them. During this time of book fairs, I encourage parents to look through the brochure with their child. I think it would be a lot of fun to watch my child look through all the possible book options & pick out the ones they’d like. I think it’s really important to do some research on the titles your child has picked out. But as I discussed before in previous reviews, not all books at a junior high book fair are written for junior high students. They are a great way for PTOs to raise money for their teachers & schools. But I just want to encourage you to look into the books your child is interested in.

On a side note, I was super excited to see Ashes on the shelves this year!!

ashes-bookfair

I am also excited about the possibilities for future posts! nazi-books

Ashes

ashes

 

Grade Level: Fifth

Finally, after seven loooooong years, Laurie Halse Anderson brings us the final installment in her Seeds of America Trilogy: Ashes. This book wraps up the story of Isabel, Ruthie, and Curzon so nicely and puts a neat little bow on top.

Ashes picks up several years after Isabel and Curzon marched out of Valley Forge. At the onset of this novel, Curzon and Isabel are hiding in the woods a mere feet away from the sign that will tell them just how far they have left to travel… and a group of redcoats.

Very early in this book Isabel finds the very object she has been searching for since the middle of Chains: Ruth. After escaping undetected from the British soldiers and Virginia militia, Isabel and Curzon arrive at the Lockton Plantation in South Carolina. They climb a tree to wait for nightfall. They have learned that being patient and scouting out residences is the best way to go, but no sooners has Isabel climbed the tree, when a young slave girl strolls from the barn. Immediately, Isabel senses a familiar air about this young woman. After a few seconds, Isabel recognizes her for her she is and throwing caution to the wind, she runs to greet Ruth. Unfortunately, the greeting and the subsequent travels are not at all what Isabel had in mind.

Through kind actions of the older slave couple at the plantation, Isabel, Curzon, Ruth and another slave from the plantation, Aberdeen, escape. They manage to travel through the woods toward freedom. Much of this time, Isabel is trying to get Ruth to speak to her. The group eventually finds themselves in the midst of the Continental Army and their French Allies.

Isabel and Curzon continue to find themselves in situations where their loyalty to each other is tested. Isabel’s greatest focus during the war was never on those involved in the war, but on finding her sister. Now that she will be forced to choose a side. The final major battle of the American Revolution looms before her, Isabel is forced to choose a side. Ruth seems to want to follow Aberdeen… toward the British. Curzon, the boy she has spent years with, is passionately fighting for the Americans. Which should she choose? How will she know which is the right choice? Can she guarantee her freedom?

In this novel, Anderson will ask her readers to think about independence for all. Isabel will be faced with a difficult decision. And she will ultimately follow her heart.

*Click the cover to check it out on Amazon!*

Lesson Plan Ideas:

*Create an Acrostic poem using ISABEL and CURZON’s names. (Or all the characters from the novels.) 

*Write a response to Ms. Serafina’s quote on page 39: “The greatest strength of all is daring to love.”

*Take a page from Isabel’s book. As a family, talk about memories from special events.

*On page 84, Isabel describes the “bedraggled” soldiers. Research the struggles faced by the Patriot army.

*Research the significance of the location of Yorktown.

*Compare the camp at Williamsburg to the camp at Valley Forge. Use chapter XVII to help describe Williamsburg and pages 73-127 in Forge to help describe Valley Forge.

*On page 132, Isabel discusses the walls of Jericho. Read the story in Joshua Chapter 6.

*Compare a regular battle with a siege. How are the two strategies different?

*Research the ending of Yorktown. Who surrendered in Cornwallis’ stead?

*The appendix has some great questions and resources too.