If an entire nation could seek its freedom, why not a girl?
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 chains, both physical and spiritual.Read an Excerpt
Praise for Chains
“Anderson’s novel is remarkable for its strong sense of time and place and for its nuanced portrait of slavery and of New York City during the Revolutionary War.”
“Anderson explores elemental themes of power, freedom, and the sources of human strength in this searing, fascinating story.”
—Booklist, starred review
“Readers will care deeply about Isabel . . .”
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Startlingly provocative . . . nuanced and evenhanded . . . a fast-moving, emotionally involving plot.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Engrossing. . . a heart-racing story.”
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Knocks on the conscience of a nation.”
—Christian Science Monitor
Frequently Asked Questions
Wow – what an amazing question! I think Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. There are a number of flaws in it, notably Wilder’s profound racism towards Native Americans and African Americans. I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t notice these things when I was nine years old. Back then, it was just a fascinating book that sparked my interest in American history.
Re-reading it as an adult, I saw the ugly, casual racism for what it was. That helped me reexamine everything I thought I knew about American history. I started reading books and studying the work of historians who wrote about the development of the United States as seen from the perspective of people of color.
All of this helped lead me to write my trilogy about the American Revolution: CHAINS, FORGE and ASHES (this last installment is almost done.)
I am proud to be an American. I’m even prouder to be an American who is trying to help my countrymen understand our history so that we might truly fulfill the promise of the Declaration of Independence; that this will one day (soon!) become a land where everyone is treated equally.
(from Laurie’s Goodreads Q&A)