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Annie Henry: Adventures in the American Revolution (Series) Review by Kim Kargbo

Susan Olasky
P&R Publishing
P.O. Box 817
Phillipsburg, NJ 08865-0817

This series of four books is a historical fiction series based on the life of Annie Henry, the daughter of Patrick Henry, one of the fathers of the American Revolution. The entire series is set in the late 1700's right at the time of the beginning and during the Revolutionary War. Susan Olasky has done an excellent job creating a living history series that takes young people back into the era of our country's birth with intriguing and realistic characters and relatable crises mixed with enough historical facts to educate clandestinely. As most historical war novels tend to revolve around male protagonists, it is refreshing to follow a female figure through the trials and victories of one of our country's historical eras. Annie is a character that most girls will find relevant and enjoyable.

The first book, Annie Henry and the Secret Mission, introduces us to Annie and her family, including her famous father, Patrick Henry. Patrick Henry travels a lot with his growing role in the colonies and ten year old Annie is often at odds with her older sister, who is trying to run the family while their mother is gravely ill and their father is away. Annie manages to save her father's wheat crop from a fire and her father from a Tory spy. She also weathers some severe family and personal crises, learning valuable lessons along the way.

Book two, Annie Henry and the Birth of Liberty, finds Annie taking more leadership and learning more responsibility as her father is gone and has been declared a traitor. Her older sister gets married and has a baby and Annie needs to rise to several difficult situations.

In book three, Annie Henry and the Mysterious Stranger, Annie is slightly older and carrying more responsibility. She moves to Williamsburg with her father who has been elected governor and takes up the residence, and the expectations, of a politician's daughter. Annie is also dealing with changes in herself as she grows up. While these things are a little frightening, they aren't nearly as frightening as the stranger who keeps lurking nearby.

In the final book, Annie Henry and the Redcoats, Annie and her family move to the frontier to get away from the Revolutionary War, which has been waging for several years. Annie's new stepmother is a blessing in her life, as are the new siblings she now has as she matures to adulthood. Annie later moves to Richmond to help care for some young cousins and meets two men that impact her life--one negatively and one positively. Benedict Arnold cements her passion for freedom and the revolution through his negative example. Spencer Roane plays a pivotal role in the rest of her life.

This series is an outstanding account of the Revolutionary era through the eyes of a young woman who witnessed it. I highly recommend these books, particularly for middle school girls.

Product Review by Kim Kargbo, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November 2011