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Maiden America Review by Erica BeyeaJeannette DiLouie
Set in 1776 during the early days of the Revolutionary War, the 325-page historical novel Maiden America is richly captivating and enlightening. Maiden America reads like a first person journalistic account of the life of a feisty seventeen-year-old patriot named Abigail Carpenter, who finds herself trapped in her own home quartering British officers while her father and brothers are off fighting in the Continental Army. Not completely alone though, Abigail shares the duties with her sister-in-law, a small niece and nephew, and a brother whose short fuse leads the officers to deliver him up to the local prison, where he remains for the duration of the book.
While Abigail cherishes memories of the family life she once knew, she finds herself in ever present danger precariously balancing her patriotic American fervor with the charm and wit necessary to survive in occupied Princeton, New Jersey. When duty for her beloved America calls, she cannot help but take up the cause and stand for her beliefs, recklessly performing the duties of a spy right under the noses of the British officers who have commandeered her home.
Complicating her existence is a wounded spy who will die without her aid, and a complex friendship with the enemy who lives by her side. Although Abigail has many brushes with danger and death, she manages to keep herself intact with her quick thinking and sharp wit. First in a three-part series, the story ends in the only way it could, with unfinished business that leaves you longing for the next chapter.
Maiden America is recommended for teens and adults. It can be intense and difficult reading, with a vivid setting thoroughly portrayed by the many specific historical details woven into the story. This book would make an excellent companion to a high school United States History course. Though the characters are fictional, the facts are well researched and historically accurate. In fact, there is a comprehensive appendix expounding all the footnotes and facts listed throughout the book, citing numerous sources.
American History is my favorite subject both to teach and to study personally, and I found this story fascinating. Even though it is a novel, I could picture the events taking place as they were described, which made the story an efficacious teaching tool. A paperback version of Maiden America is currently available for $12.99 on Amazon. It also can be purchased for Kindle.
-Product review by Erica Beyea, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2017