Thursday, July 7, 2016

Review: Cast Two Shadows: The American Revolution in the South by Ann Rinaldi

Synopsis: It's 1780s, and the war has come to Camden, South Carolina. Caroline's father is in prisionl her brother off fighting for the Loyalists; and she, her mother, and her sister are confined to one room as a British colonel occupies their spacious plantation house. But when Caroline learns that her brother is injured, not even a British colonel can stop her from rushing to his aid. She does agree to take her "secret" grandmother - a slave on her own plantation - with her, and together they face trigger-happy soliders and desperate revels on a trip that turns Caroline's already tumultuous world upside down. (from the back of the book)

Review: Being that I have an ancestor that fought in the Siege of Charleston during the Revolutionary War, I have a particular interest in stories set in that era and place. This is set 120 miles from Charleston, on a plantation. Dealing with her father’s imprisonment for being a Rebel, her brother at war for the British, and her sister’s increasing infatuation with the colonel who occupies their home, the main character must also sort through her emotions about her history – that she is the daughter and granddaughter of a slave. At fourteen, she is faced with choices outside her experience or comfort – but war does that to people.
Rinaldi doesn’t spare the reader the realities of war. Not everyone gets a happy ending. She accurately captures the confusion, pain, loss, love, hope, courage, and cowardice that permeated the South during the war.
My only complaint was the prose. It was a bit – juvenile – compared to what I expected. I understand this is a story for young adults, but I think the prose could have been tighter, more adult, more complex, maybe? It doesn’t detract from the story but it does a disservice to the reader, by underestimating their intelligence.
The edition I have contains an author’s note, bibliography, and questions in the back, all of which facilitate quality discussions about the topics approached in the story.
This book is worth reading, particular for older school children or for those interested in the American Revolution.  

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-15-205077-9
Year Published: 1998
Date Finished: 7-3-2016
Pages: 281

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