A Question of Loyalty by Barbara Greenwood
Deborah finds a young rebel hiding in her family’s barn in 1837. Her father and brother are off fighting the rebels to keep the colony safe, so why does she choose to shelter him? Has she made the right choice? As suspicion and malice start to swirl around her, has she actually put her family, their farm, their lives in danger?
Short and snappy. A great book to bring to life the complex landscape of rebellion – the action isn’t in the rebellion itself, but in dealing with the rebels. I liked that this book was more about people than history, because it made the book really resonate on an emotional level. That’s where a read aloud has real educational value, when the facts meet emotions and give the brain something to hold onto.
Don’t get me wrong, the history is still there, but the main rebel in the story isn’t in the heart of the rebellion, he’s on the periphery, caught in the currents of the whirlpool. We learn about the rebellion and the issues that it created, absolutely. But we also learn about daily chores, and how women feel when their menfolk are called away to be part of the militia, and we get to the emotional heart of a rebellion: the fact that your friends, your neighbors, your people, are suddenly no longer a rock on which you can depend. You can’t take loyalty for granted. And what does loyalty mean?
Unlike many books set in history for young people, this book lets the characters have histories that drive their actions. The clearances of the Scottish highlands, the war of 1812, these ‘recent’ historical facts play into the choices characters make in this book. As a reader I think it’s wonderful, but as a homeschooler, I love it because it ties together several things we are learning about.
Greenwood wrote a good book here. Short and full of tension. Human and yet full of sweeping history. I highly recommend it for homeschoolers.