A riveting middle-grade Civil War drama by acclaimed author, Ann Rinaldi. Based on a true incident.
As the Civil War rages, Amelia's Maryland town is beset by divisions. Even she and her best friend Josh disagree. Amelia vows not to take sides, until the Confederate troops march into town...led by Josh's uncle.
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In this novel inspired by the Confederate ransom of Hagerstown, Md., Rinaldi's (The Coffin Quilt) backdrop is as compelling as ever, but the narrator's undeveloped character lessens its intensity. The story begins in 1861, as 11-year-old Amelia Grafton relates the Civil War's impact on her sharply divided yet tightly linked town: "Mama and I were Southerners, but not Rebels. We were for the Union, but not the Yankees. You have to be from Maryland to understand it." When Amelia's actions inadvertently contribute to the demise of her friend's father, a Confederate-sympathizing newspaperman, and his printing press, Amelia vows to remain neutral which, unfortunately, translates as a rather passive recounting of events through most of the novel. Among the book's strengths are some riveting characters both real (Generals Lee and Custer make cameo appearances) and imagined (e.g., the fictional Jinny Pearl shoots a Rebel soldier after he attempts to rape her and disguises herself as a man to enlist). The pace picks up in the last quarter of the novel when, in 1864, Confederate General McCausland threatens to burn Hagerstown unless its citizens pay an astronomical ransom, and Amelia must finally choose sides. However, readers will likely find the unfolding of Amelia's outfoxing of the general implausible (she applies white paint to alter the ransom order) and may not stay with the book long enough to witness the highly personal price of this war. Ages 10-14. (Nov.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Grade 6-8-Rinaldi writes about the Civil War through the eyes of Amelia Grafton, a young teen living in Hagerstown, MD. The story takes place over a period of three years, and readers learn of the townspeople's struggles as they are forced to split in their loyalties and deal with young men enlisting and families losing their most prized possessions. Amelia, a Yankee sympathizer, wants to make a difference by participating in the war effort in other ways besides preparing food and helping the wounded, the traditional duties assumed by women. In an exciting show of ingenuity and bravery, she devises a plan to trick a Confederate officer and save her town from being burned to the ground. While Amelia's character lacks the depth required to make a connection with most readers, the story gives an excellent sense of what it was like to live in an area so affected by this war.
Carrie Lynn Cooper, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Scholastic Paperbacks, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110439326664
Book Description Scholastic Paperbacks. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0439326664 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0156908