School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 5-7-A little-known aspect of the American Revolution comes alive in this absorbing novel set in 1775. Elspeth Monro and her grandparents recently moved from Scotland to North Carolina to escape the poverty and political instability of their homeland and are forced to choose sides in the brewing conflict. Elspeth tries to live a normal life, spending time with friends and learning to become a weaver. However, local Patriots continually confront the members of her family, using scare tactics to try and persuade her grandfather and cousins to join their cause. Even more disturbing, the Patriots seem able to anticipate the family members' whereabouts, suggesting that someone is spying on them. This well-told story has an intriguing plot, and details about the Scottish settlers and life in the Colonies are carefully integrated into the narrative. The element of mystery keeps readers guessing and the family's betrayer is truly a surprise. Each character is three-dimensional, with complex reasons motivating his or her behavior. A helpful section with information about the time period rounds out the description of this unique segment of history.-Kristen Oravec, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Strongsville, OH Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus ReviewsThe American Revolution smolders in the North Carolina hills in 1775; for the thousands of recently immigrated Scots settlers, choosing sides is very difficult. Most of them are still reeling from the long-reaching effects of their own failed rebellion against the British 30 years ago. Twelve-year-old Elspeth, whose grandparents bear physical and emotional scars from that long-ago war, wants nothing more than to fit in to her new life as a weaver's apprentice to an English woman. When Patriots begin to threaten her family, she's not sure what to do. Strong writing brings the setting to life; when Grandda roars, "I fought at Culloden, ye numpty gowks!" readers may not know "Culloden," "numpty," or "gowks," but will understand the overall meaning just fine. Complex emotions are as balanced as the light and dark threads in the overshot patterns Elspeth loves to weave, and Elspeth, trying desperately to find her own balance, is appealing and brave. Only the focus on the requisite mystery seems a touch off, a constraint forced upon the book by its inclusion in the "History Mysteries" series. Still, a grand read and an important addition for this age group about the Revolutionary War. (Historical fiction. 8-14)
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