SOLDIER’S SECRET by Sheila Solomon Klass


The Story of Deborah Sampson
Age Range: 12 - 16
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Signing a proclamation on May 23, 1983, Governor Michael Dukakis named Deborah Sampson an “Official Heroine of the State of Massachusetts,” the first person ever to be so honored. Sampson, fiercely patriotic, fought in the American Revolution, taking the name of her deceased older brother, Robert Shurtliff. She had been a “give-away child,” abandoned by her father and given up by her mother, and after ten years of indentured servitude, she became a “masterless” woman and ran off to war to avoid marriage. Rooting her tale in the facts of Sampson’s story and inventing dialogue, a romance and supporting characters, Klass tells Sampson/Shurtliff’s wartime saga as a tale like Scheherazade’s, with Deborah writing the stories to earn the silence of her attending physician. And an engrossing tale it is, of a woman’s journey in a man’s war, offering a fascinating portrait of a new nation emerging from the crucible of war, disease and political upheaval. A good match with Anita Silvey’s I’ll Pass for Your Comrade (2008). (author’s note, chronology) (Historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8050-8200-5
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2009


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