How do you think it would feel if you were “chained between two nations?” To have no choice about your own life, your own actions? To fight for two countries, and not even get to have any freedom from either one? If you are thinking about how that would feel, you are thinking about the life of a slave. In particular, a slave named Isabel. This slave used to have a fairly standard master. She had lived with her mother, and her father had died earlier in her life. She lived with her sister and slept in the slave quarters like most slaves did. This changed when her madam, Miss Finch, died, leaving them in the hands of their master. He sold Isabel and her sister, Ruth; to the first people he found, Mister and Mrs. Lockton.
Things went wrong at the start. Madam Lockton lives in New York so Isabel and Ruth have to travel by boat; they had to have their belongings searched at the harbor when they reached New York. Madam Lockton refused to let the soldiers search her walnut chest. She said it held “personal belongings,” which was mostly true, and that she would not move until she could leave with it in her carriage. Ruth giggled, but Isabel took the blame, being struck on the face. Only one person took any mercy on the girls, and that person was Curzon. He is a slave as well, about the same age as Isabel. He is one of her only friends. Things aren’t going well because Isabel is working hard, but Madam never likes it. Madam likes little Ruth enough, but Isabel notices that Ruth is crying and never talks anymore. If you want to get involved in Isabel’s story, read Chains.
This book was written by Laurie Halse Anderson and is one of my favorite books. My favorite character in the book was Isabel, she is strong and fierce, but she’s a good friend. She would risk her life to save her sister and her friends. I think that my friends would love this book; they can’t get enough of historical fiction! I can’t either!