Slavery in the years of the American Revolution, an era of unexpected freedoms against the backdrop of war, by the author of Darkness (p. 1503). Narrator Aissa, whose name means ""second daughter,"" doesn't remember her mother, who died after she was born. She is raised by her older sister, Bett, who is sold when Aissa is five to a new master and his bride. Patient, kindly Bett is trusted to serve the master and his friends as they meet to discuss their work on the new Massachusetts Constitution, which clarifies and strengthens the idea, expressed in the recently formulated Declaration of Independence, that ""all men are created equal."" Aissa wonders why, if that is so, certain people remain slaves, but Bett stills her questions, afraid to disrupt the status quo. When the mistress, enraged by Aissa's defiance, attempts to strike the younger woman with a heavy, blazing hot shovel, Bett takes the blow and is severely injured. Embittered, Bert decides to sue her owners for freedom with the new constitution as her rationale; the strong courtroom scene will have readers cheering. Based on a real case, this admirable historical novel is unique for the perspective it lends to the Revolution and its profound impact on the lives of all Americans.