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The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre

The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre

4.4 62
by Ann Rinaldi

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Fourteen-year-old Rachel Marsh, an indentured servant in the Boston household of John and Abigail Adams, is caught up in the colonists' unrest that eventually escalates into the massacre of March 5, 1770.


Fourteen-year-old Rachel Marsh, an indentured servant in the Boston household of John and Abigail Adams, is caught up in the colonists' unrest that eventually escalates into the massacre of March 5, 1770.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Several years ago Ann Rinaldi became my favorite historical fiction writer because of her devotion to exploring the depths of female emotion while viewing history through the quandaries obscured by time. In The Fifth of March, she writes about fourteen-year-old Rachel Marsh, John Adam's indentured servant in Boston in the 1770s. Rachel becomes friends with a British soldier and she's caught between loyalty to America and to friendship. Everything comes to a head on March 5th at the Boston Massacre when Rachel's friend shoots a Bostonian. She is torn apart by her loyalties to the Adams family, her burgeoning sense of Americanism, and her bonds of true friendship. The book is part of the "Great Episodes" series.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-Ann Rinaldi's award-winning novel (Harcourt, 1993) is reminiscent of Johnny Tremain. It features an orphaned bondservant, Rachel Marsh, who finds herself enmeshed in the furor that was pre-Revolutionary Boston prior to the Boston Massacre. Many historical personages are featured in the story-John, Abigail, and various other Adamses of Boston; Henry Knox; and soldier Matthew Kilroy. The tale melds history and fiction to give an excellent view of colonial Boston, its inhabitants, and the political and social attitudes that pervaded the city. Rachel discusses the role of women in society with Abigail Adams herself. The notion of colonial British-Americans discovering that they have become "plain Americans" and the philosophical changes that entailed is examined. Melissa Hughes gives an honest voice to narrator Rachel. Early, wistful readings tender an innocence that develops into confidence and assurance as the character grows in years, education, and confidence, lending believability to the narrative. The Adams' cook is referred to as a "nigra girl," which is historically accurate, but might be offensive to some. The story is sprinkled with mild oaths and finds Rachel chastely fending off the advances of soldier Matthew Kilroy. Rinaldi has scored a winner with this book, destined to be a classic, and Hughes ably provides a clear, crisp, and honest rendering.-Mike Brown, Bowie High School, MD Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Carefully researched and lovingly written."—Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
Great Episodes Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
6.78(w) x 6.44(h) x 0.96(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

ANN RINALDI is an award-winning author best known for bringing history vividly to life. A self-made writer and newspaper columnist for twenty-one years, Ms. Rinaldi attributes her interest in history to her son, who enlisted her to take part in historical reenactments up and down the East Coast. She lives with her husband in central New Jersey. Visit her online at www.annrinaldi.com .

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The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 62 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rachel Marsh works as a servant to John and Abigail Adams in Boston during the early 1770s, during the tense period surrounding the Boston Massacre. She admires them greatly, but falls in love with Matthew Kilroy, a British soldier who kills an American in the Massacre. She is surprised when Matthew is accused of participating with soldiers and firing upon a mob of citizens. Rachel can't decide where her loyalties lie, she is continually caught in the middle of the friction between the troops and the colonists. She meets many people in which influence her to find where she belongs and what she believes. She struggles to find a solution of how to respect everybody around her and stand up for what she believes in. The protagonist of the story is fourteen year old Rachel Marsh who moves into John and Abigail Adams' household to work as a servant. She cares for the kids and venerates the Adamses. Rachel is a very cryptic girl and has trouble dealing with whom her loyalties should be with and often wavers between them. Over time Rachel evolves into who she thinks she should be. Matthew Kilroy is a British soldier who was put into the war to pay off his brothers gambling debt, he didn't want to be a soldier. He realizes that though he doesn't want to be in this position, he has to do his job. He is very responsible and caring. When the soldiers arrived in Boston, in jaunty attire, he stood watch in front of the Adams household, where he meets Rachel. He immediately admires her and they become close. His feelings amass for Rachel and becomes very fervent with her. He and Rachel wrangle often, but they fall in love. John Adams is a well-respected lawyer from Braintree. He is very congested with all of the work he has to do and is asked to defend the British soldiers following the Boston Massacre, and he accepts. John is said to be a turncoat because of this. John is very enterprising and resolute and his stance is strong. John Adams' wife is Abigail Adams. Abigail is a very strong and caring women. John and she had 2 children and have another in the novel, but the baby has trouble breathing and dies. Following this detriment, Abigail becomes laggard and feels great anguish. She also has premonitions that bad things will happen even after that baby's death, and then the Boston Massacre occurs. She is belittled by many people after her husband decides to defend the British soldiers, but she is independent and isn't affected by this treatment. ' 'Why do the soldiers call us American? I've always thought of myself as a loyal British subject, when I've thought of the matter at all.' He 'Henry Knox' mused for a moment. 'So have we all, Rachel,'he said sadly,'but perhaps it is time for some new thoughts, then.' 'I wouldn't know where to start,' I said. 'What is a plain American, without the British in front of it?' 'Perhaps,' he said,'it is time to find out.' ' This passage is very important to understanding the novel and to understanding Rachel. In this quote, Rachel is in a bookstore owned by Henry Knox, a friend of the Adamses. Since the British soldiers have been in Boston, they have started to call the citizens 'American'. They have never seen themselves as just 'American', but instead 'British American'. Rachel finds it difficult to understand and is not used to this, neither is Henry. But, he suggests that maybe they should accept this and call themselves this, he says that it is time to find out what makes them 'American' and to live up to this title and to fight to defend their homeland. In The Fifth of March, I strongly agree with standing up for what you believe in and not being afraid of it. That is what Rachel did many times. She stood up for Matthew and believed in him because she loved him, even though Matthew was a British soldier. She didn't care what the Adamses thought of her anymore. There are not any serious errors in this book. This book influences people not to judge anyone because they are not on the 'same si
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is quite easily one of my favorite books. I got it when I visited John Adams house a few years ago. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Not only did it provide an excellent portrayal of the time period, but the love story topped it off. Although the book made me cry at times, it was this story by Ann Rinaldi that made me interested in historical fiction stories. Excellent read!
hockey22 More than 1 year ago
Awesome book!!! I read it in 2 days and I never wanted to put it down!! I love historical fiction so learning about the Boston Massacre in Rachel's perspective was really interesting. I wish it would of told about what might of happened to the REAL Rachel. (What really happened to her when the Adams moved back to Braintree.) The story was really good and I'm going to read a lot more books by this author!!!!!!!
Jennifer Conway More than 1 year ago
Ann Rinaldi is such a talented author. This is another one of her great books! Definitely worth getting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this book alot because of its pace and storyline. It defiantly helped that I had already known and read about the Boston Massacre. I recommend this book to all that enjoy historical fiction.
My one complaint is that I would have liked to know what happened to Matthew.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed everything about this book.It had everything.Excitment,romance and a wonderful winter setting.I felt like I was in the story myself because of how much detial this story has and how vivid everything is. I also love the strong personalities of the characters.No two people are exactly the same,which,unfortunately,seems to be the case with many of the books that i have read.I really could not put this book down.This deserves nothing less than five stars!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love reading about history and Ann Rinaldi is my favorite author. This is her first book i read and it is all i read now! If you like the American Revolution do not hestitate to read this book. It is a great story and you learn so much about history!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Amazing novel starts the thirst for more Rinadi books the worst part is when you realize there are no more words to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This really is a great book! I had to read it for school but I'm glad I did! It has so many descriptions that i felt like I was actually in the book! It's a great read! You really should read this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was one of my VERY favorite books last year. It was very good. I recommend this to everyone!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book because it had so much description it made you feel like you were part of the story. You begin to feel for the characters and begin seeing them almost as a real person. I'm an avid reader of Ann Rinaldi and this book was by far one of my favorites!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book brings the boston massacre alive. it shows how people like rachel dealt with it. her friendship with matt helps show how difficult it was for americans to assocciate with the british since most of boston hated them. it also shows historical figures like john and abigail adams. it was pretty good but not my favorite
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was wonderful because I learned alot about the early years in the war and the Boston Massacre. I read this book about a year ago when I checked it out from the library, and since then I have been looking for it in bookstores, but they have been out. Not only did you learn about the war and the massacre in this book, but also, like in her other books, you learned of famous people in History, such as John and Abigail Adams.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was unexpectedly good! I normally hate reading history books, or anything related to history, because it bores me, and I will quit reading it instantly. But this book surprised me!! It was very appealing,and the romanticism and fictional characters added in gave it a special touch, and making it more interesting and relatable. The storyline was true, as were most characters in the book, so it was a perfect combination between real and fantasy. I love how the author developed the book. You learned facts about the Boston Massacre, and how people from both sides felt after it, and it happened differently than i thought it had. So its good to know what actually happened, amd how life was different back then. FIVE STARS!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this Ann Rinaldi book to be very touching and heartfelt. I think this is one of her best books and recommend this book to everyone. Even a few weeks after reading the book I keep thinking about the characters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book two years ago when I was in 8th grade. This book had such a great impact on me and it really made the study of the Boston Massacre more interesting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book captured me right on the spot and I never let go! It's sooo moving that I actually cried in some places! I also loved the romance along with the history of the Massacare. I recomend this book to everyone! Please don't miss out on it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Fifth of March was a great book! Ann Rinaldi is a wonderful auther and I love to read all her books. I liked this book sooooo much I read it twice! It helped me to understand the war better. The story was great, and I hope that anyone who is interested in the wars, like I am, will enjoy this book as much as I did!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the best book I have ever read by Rinaldi. It was packed full of emotion and lots of interesting facts. One thing I found most interesting were the different perspectives that the people in Boston were feeling at that time. In school when you learn of the Boston Massacre you think that the British were these awful, terrible , mean people who just wanted to kill all of the patriots or something like that. But, in reality, they may have just been fighting off the crowd the night of March fifth not only in self defense of their own flesh and blood, but of their beloved dignity and pride that had been eaten away by the people of Boston for so long. (In the book, this is what Ann Rinaldi suggests is the case.)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great book!! At the beginning it was a little slow, but it picked up after chapter six. I'm not goning to say anything more about the book,because I don't want to give it away,just know this, it was awesome!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like it but I didn't really like the end. But this book is still good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am required to read this book for my ELA class, ( historical fiction unit ). It is ok so far but if it were up to me I wouldn't pick up this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Save your money for a better read. Not even in cronological order