Ashes (Seeds of America Trilogy Series #3)by Laurie Halse Anderson
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Return to the American Revolution in this blistering conclusion to the trilogy that began with the bestselling National Book Award Finalist Chains and continued with Forge, which The New York Times called “a return not only to the colonial era but to historical accuracy.”
As the Revolutionary War rages on, Isabel and Curzon have narrowly escaped Valley Forge—but their relief is short-lived. Before long they are reported as runaways, and the awful Bellingham is determined to track them down. With purpose and faith, Isabel and Curzon march on, fiercely determined to find Isabel’s little sister Ruth, who is enslaved in a Southern state—where bounty hunters are thick as flies.
Heroism and heartbreak pave their path, but Isabel and Curzon won’t stop until they reach Ruth, and then freedom, in this grand finale to the acclaimed Seeds of America trilogy from Laurie Halse Anderson.
Picking up in June 1781, three years after Forge (2010), this thrilling conclusion to Anderson’s Seeds of America trilogy finds former slaves Isobel and Curzon finally locating Isobel’s younger sister, Ruth, on a South Carolina plantation. The reunion is not a happy one: while Ruth, now 12, has been cared for by fellow slaves on the plantation, she rebuffs Isobel. Curzon and Isobel are also at odds over his desire to enlist in the fight for independence. Despite the discord, the three head north—joined by Aberdeen, an escaped slave from the plantation—stopping in Williamsburg, Va., where patriots are preparing for an assault on Yorktown. As in the previous two books, Anderson’s vividly detailed writing immerses readers in the hardships of her heroes’ travels and the harsh realities of war. Isobel’s eventual reconciliation with Ruth, her growing understanding of Curzon’s need to fight, and her recognition of the true feelings between them all work to guide the story to an emotionally satisfying conclusion. It’s a gripping finish to an epic journey that speaks resoundingly to the human capacity to persevere. Ages 10–14. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. (Oct.)
Gr 7 Up—The conclusion to the story that began in Chains and continued in Forge was well worth the wait. Isabel and Curzon, having just escaped from Valley Forge, head south to rescue Isabel's younger sister, Ruth, from a plantation. Every turn is fraught with danger as alliances shift and loyalties are tested. Anderson's depth of research, integration of real people and events, and respect for her characters imbue every page of this masterly examination of a too-little-explored aspect of American history.
The Seeds of America trilogy concludes at the Battle of Yorktown as Isabel and Curzon, along with the emerging new nation, grapple with the meaning of liberty. Isabel’s journey in the first two novels took her from New York City in 1776 to Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-1778; now she’s gone to Yorktown in 1781, in search of her younger sister, Ruth, who had been separated from her and sent south from New York City. Curzon and Isabel have known each other since trilogy opener Chains (2008), when Isabel saved him from certain death in a British prison, and they have experienced much together. Curzon has become a believer in the patriots’ dream of creating a new nation conceived in liberty, but Isabel reminds him that “we’d been enslaved by both Patriots and Loyalists, and that neither side was talking about freedom for people who looked like us.” And they are both shaken by news that “self-liberated people” are being imprisoned by the American army and delivered back into slavery. Isabel’s voice is strong in this first-person narrative; though the war is the backdrop, this is her personal story, her meditation on family, loyalty, slavery, freedom, and the principles behind the Revolution. Anderson’s appendix offers much additional historical detail in the form of responses to questions.A strong conclusion to a monumental tale of the American Revolution. (appendix) (Historical fiction. 10-14)
Meet the Author
Laurie Halse Anderson is a New York Times bestselling author known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity. Her work has earned numerous ALA and state awards. Two of her books, Chains and Speak, were National Book Award finalists. Chains also received the 2009 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, and Laurie was chosen for the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award. Mother of four and wife of one, Laurie lives in Pennsylvania, where she likes to watch the snow fall as she writes. You can follow her adventures on Twitter @HalseAnderson, or visit her at MadWomanintheForest.com.
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This is it, the final book in the series. I didn’t know what to expect as book two in this series had me all over the place, hoping for the best but finding that just when I started to get comfortable, bam the unexpected occurred. Isabel finally finds her little sister Ruth and I felt relieved at last but the more that I read it was not the homecoming that I expected. Isabel has a motherly hold on Ruth even though after everything Ruth has experienced in life, she doesn’t need the tight bonds. Again, lots of life lessons run abound in this novel as Ruth does an unbearable simple mistake which cost the girls greatly and cause tension between them. Curzon and Isabel get into an argument over the war as Isabel refuses to tell him which side she prefers in the war and I really enjoyed their argument and the outcome that resulted in the end. The war and life has changed these characters over time, they have matured and they have become individuals with minds that rationalize and see beyond what’s in front of them. As the girls were in the field with the bombs blasting in the distance, I had been waiting for this moment and it seemed almost picturesque. Time stood still as the truth was spoken and the girls tried to erase the years and distance that had come between them. As the rest of the novel started to wind down, I was waiting for a colossal ending and I felt it was coming. Yet as I read the ending, I felt it was rushed and the last few pages felt out of touch with the rest of the novel. I had to reread it to make sure that I had not skipped something but nope, they were the same words so I guess it was not a great ending for me.
After a long wait, I finally got to read the final installment of this trilogy. I miss my journey with Isabel and Curzon already.
A lot of the characters are just lost and while the main characters bring them up, their fate is still a mystery. People also seemed to want the thrilling rescue of Ruth for this book but instead it's a lot of description of hard work as Isabel works to free herself and Ruth. Spoiler alert: the ending is very ambiguous and leaves just as much mystery to the story as the ending of forge had. This book felt like a footnote of the previous books because there weren't many major events