SARATOGA SECRET by Betsy Sterman


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Taking as her premise that the British defeat at Saratoga was the turning point of the Revolutionary War, Sterman (with Samuel Sterman, Backyard Dragon, 1993) offers a fictional look at what might have happened to influence the outcome. The fictional village of Stillwater in the summer and autumn of 1777 is the setting; Amity Spencer, 16, has just begun to think about her future and the role that the peddler, Cheppa John, might play in it, when rumors of an impending British invasion throw the community into turmoil. Amity's father, along with others, rush off to join the Continental Army, determined to stop the British from advancing any further than Fort Ticonderoga. Amity begins to question Cheppa John's mysterious comings and goings from enemy camps; when she unexpectedly finds herself in possession of information that could determine the outcome of an upcoming battle, she prepares to deliver it to the army herself. A suspense-filled plot with factual details makes this a quick and entertaining read, while an author's note provides more intriguing tidbits. Despite some far-fetched elements--Amity's rescue of enslaved dogs, her gift of one dog to a woebegone enemy soldier as the defeated army marches past--detract only slightly from a well-crafted novel.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1998
Page count: 248pp
Publisher: Dial