Love Thy Neighbor: the Tory Diary of Prudence Emerson

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9780439153089: Love Thy Neighbor: the Tory Diary of Prudence Emerson

At the brink of the American Revolution, Prudence Emerson finds her friends and neighbors turning against her and her family, who remain loyal to the British King.

The drama of the American Revolution is brought to life through the eyes of a Prudence Emerson, who tells the story from the rarely heard perspective of a Tory. In the winter of 1775, as Pru's neighbors prepare to fight the British for independence, Pru is torn between her family's sworn allegiance to the King, and her loneliness for the friends who abandon her for the Patriot cause. When the first battle at Bunker Hill explodes, Pru must find the courage to weather the turbulent times. Ann Turner captures the the other side of America's fight for freedom with realism and sensitivity.

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Review:

"This is not the life I imagined I would have." So laments Prudence Emerson, an inquisitive, distinctly non-prudent 13-year-old girl from Massachusetts who wants to be cheerful but who must, along with her Tory family, live in fear of her Patriot neighbors in the months leading up to the American Revolution. Like the other books in the Dear America series, Ann Turner's Love Thy Neighbor is recounted in diary form--a fictional diary that reveals the innermost thoughts of a young woman while painting a vivid picture of the times in which she lived. The innate complexities of the conflicts between Tories and Patriots are clearly presented, and readers will certainly gain a new understanding of the challenges of overthrowing foreign rule and beginning a democracy from the rarely explored perspective of a family "on the wrong side" of the war. Readers will also learn about daily colonial life--when bacon came from the pigs one owned, where ink was made from ink powder or maple bark, where girls were expected to embroider, wear corsets, scrub floors, go to church on Sundays, and generally mind their manners. Pru is a strong, spirited heroine whom readers will cheer on as she endures alienation from her Patriot friends, the sickness of her little sister, rising hostility, and ultimately, being uprooted from the home she loves to flee the danger of war.

A note in the back further illuminates life in the Colonies, as do historical illustrations and a note from the author about her own family connection to this turbulent time. Two other fictional diaries set during the Revolutionary War are Kristiana Gregory's Dear America book The Winter of Red Snow: The Revolutionary War Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart and Barry Denenberg's My Name is America book The Journal of William Thomas Emerson: A Revolutionary War Patriot. (Ages 9 to 14) --Karin Snelson

From School Library Journal:

Grade 4-7-Prudence Emerson and her family live in Massachusetts in 1774 and are loyal to the English king. Many villagers are Patriots and as they grow weary of the oppressive laws, they begin to turn on their Tory neighbors. Prudence's former friends won't speak to her, someone throws a rock through a window in her house, and Patriots refuse to do business with her father. As the town's dark mood escalates, the Emersons flee to Boston to stay with relatives under the protection of British troops. The author does an outstanding job of showing how Tories became embroiled with their neighbors in a sort of civil war. Prudence is a typical teenager, but she is also loyal to her family's views and frightened by the hostile attitude of her former friends. Details of Colonial life are intricately interwoven, from Prudence's difficulty in obtaining ink to write in her diary to her mother's use of herbs in her midwifery practice. The action and suspense build steadily and will keep readers hooked. A compelling portrait of a "dissenting" voice.
Kristen Oravec, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Strongsville, OH
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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