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Children's LiteratureThis is an exciting, adventurous story about Tempe Wick, a true historical figure, as told through the eyes of her young fourteen-year-old cousin, Mary Cooper. Mary's family sends her to live with Tempe's family during the Revolutionary War, because her patriotic leanings provoke her Tory family. In the middle of the war, this story recounts Tempe's great love of her horse, Colonial, who remains the only thing Tempe has that reminds her of her dead father. The war and her father's death have made Tempe outwardly hard, independent and bitter. However, she puts up this independent attitude in order to survive the awful circumstances. During this time of war, many people are sick, and food is scarce. Also, people talk of mutiny in the camps, and during a strange twist of events, Mary and Tempe find themselves in the middle of a possible mutiny. Tempe, however, has been deceived, and she almost unwittingly allows her good name to be associated with mutiny. In the end, we see that Tempe is not the insensitive, spoiled person she appears to be; she has put on those facades to deal with the war and her father's absence in her life. This entertaining and historically accurate book portrays the horrors of war. Mary's analysis of human nature and her ability to understand the war's impact on those around her offer a thought-provoking statement about the importance of maintaining peace and being true to oneself regardless of the circumstance. 2004, St Martin's Griffin, Ages 10 to 14.
—Kara E. Nichols