THE OTHER SIDE OF FREE by Krista Russell

THE OTHER SIDE OF FREE

Age Range: 9 - 14

KIRKUS REVIEW

Russell illuminates a little-known piece of American history in this well-researched novel for middle-grade readers. 

When Aunt Winnie—not a blood relation but the only family Jem has ever known—sends him away from Charles Town with a strange conjure-woman named Phaedra, the 13-year-old is confused and resentful. It’s 1739; Florida is held by England’s sworn enemy Spain. The Spanish governor at St. Augustine offers freedom, support and baptism into the Catholic faith to any escaped slave who vows to fight the English, but Phaedra insists Jem is too young to join the militia or take a vow. Instead, he spends his days running errands for Phaedra in the forests and marshlands around Fort Mose, an earthwork fort built and staffed by the ex-slave militia, wishing for more manly duties. Recent escapees bring news of a violent slave rebellion along the Stono River; the English blame the Spanish and declare war. The unfamiliar but engrossing topic and fast-paced action will keep readers interested. Phaedra and other members of the colony are well-drawn, but Jem’s characterization wobbles; his resentment, coming as it does after his rescue from near-certain death at the hands of his master, seems ill-placed.

Still, a welcome and well-written work of history. (Historical fiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-56145-710-6
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Peachtree
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2013




SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

IndieCELTIC RUN by Sean Vogel
by Sean Vogel
ChildrenCHAINS by Laurie Halse Anderson
by Laurie Halse Anderson
ChildrenBOSTON JANE by Jennifer L. Holm
by Jennifer L. Holm