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Chains (Isabel) Hardcover – 19 Jan 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (19 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074759807X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747598077
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 3.1 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,009,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Laurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times-bestselling author who writes for kids of all ages. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous American Library Association and state awards. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists. Chains also earned a spot on the Carnegie Medal Short List.

Laurie received the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award given by the Young Adult Library Services Association division of the American Library Association for her "significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature."

Mother of four and wife of one, Laurie lives in Northern New York State, an hour south of the Canadian border, where she likes to watch the snow fall as she writes. Right now she's finishing up her next YA novel and researching Ashes, which will conclude the adventure of Isabel and Curzon that readers enjoyed in her historical novels Chains and Forge.

You'll find loads more information about Laurie and her books on her website: http://madwomanintheforest.com/. You can follow her adventures on Twitter, http://twitter.com/halseanderson, on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/lauriehalseanderson, and on her blog, http://madwomanintheforest.com/blog/.

Product Description

Review

`A vivid historical novel with a wonderfully engaging character at its heart'
-- Glasgow Herald

`Chains is one of the most moving and striking books I have read in a long time; finally some thoughtful stirring historical fiction for young adults ... Anyone reading this brilliant book will be left beguiled' -- Waterstones Books Quarterly

`Featuring superbly drawn characters, this extraordinarily powerful novel deftly weaves fact and fiction to create an experience that makes the reader feel they are living the story'
-- The Bookseller

`This is outstanding - it's my novel of the season and I can't wait for the sequel'
-- The Bookseller

`With a rare and compelling voice, this haunting novel tells not only the story of a remarkable girl and her incredible strength, but also of a time and place in which slavery was the order of the day'
-- Irish Farmers Weekly

Review

`Featuring superbly drawn characters, this extraordinarily powerful novel deftly weaves fact and fiction to create an experience that makes the reader feel they are living the story'

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo TOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 Oct. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Laurie Halse Anderson tells the amazing story of a slave girl during the American Revolution.

Isabel is actually supposed to be free, since that's what her deceased owner willed, but a greedy nephew takes it upon himself to keep Isabel and her younger sister, Ruth, enslaved for his own profit. With no parents, and no one to care about their fate, the girls are shipped off to New York to live with new owners.

Aside from Isabel's plight, this book also follows the progress of the war from the standpoint of both loyalists and rebels. Readers have glimpses of the wealthy, the working class, the soldiers, and the slaves -- all while their eyes are riveted to the story of one lonely girl.

Anderson develops a realistic setting and offers up details that serve to enrich this tale and keep readers interested. From a trip to the stocks to a hanging, we see the gruesome, and from heroic acts to cowardice, we see people at their most extreme.

Anderson allows enough filtering and distance for comfortable reading, but expect no holds barred from this accurate author. The times were not pretty, despite the burgeoning of a new America. The writer neither exaggerates nor shields. She simply tells her tale, and it is most definitely one worth reading.

Reviewed by: Julie M. Prince
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Judith Hill on 29 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
The book opens in Spring 1776 at the scene of the funeral of Miss Mary Finch, the elderly owner of Isabel, a young teenage slave girl, her little sister Ruth and also of their mother, who had died of smallpox not long ago. Despite protests that herself and Ruth were freed in Miss Finch's will, her abrupt and unkindly nephew Robert refuses to acknowledge the existence of the will and wants to get rid of the girls as fast as he can to the high test bidder. Soon Isabel and Ruth find themselves sold to the cruel and wealthy Lockton family ,who are English loyalists, and shipped away to New York with the sea separating Rhode Island where they Mum is buried and the only place that they could get near to calling a home. With only each other left, Isabel vows to take care of Ruth, who is a simple but obedient and hard working girl Mrs Lockton, whom Isabel refers to as Madam in the book, treats Isabel very badly, making her work hard from dawn to dusk at her every whim and feeding her very little. Although it may seem that 'Madam' is trying to break Isabel's spirits she is determined to cling onto hope.
Soon after her arrival at the Lockton house, she becomes friends with a young slave boy called Curzon who opens her eyes to what is happening in the American fight for independence war and how the Patriots or 'rebels' as they were called were trying to gain freedom from the British that occupied New York. Owned by a Patriot leader, Curzon knows of the suspicion that has fallen on Mr Lockton and how Isabel could obtain valuable information from Mr Lockton as black slaves are thought of as invisible.

This short extract, which served as an alternative 'blurb' on the back of the book sums up Isabel's feelings about it:
'You want me to be a spy?" I asked. "Are you funny in the head?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Free Spirit VINE VOICE on 17 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
Wow! This is the best book I have read in a long time. It was so gripping I read it in a day and with me being a slow reader, thats no mean feat! I couldn't put this book down, even made the family tea with it in my hands!

This is a fictional story about a slave girl called Isabel but it is set in New York during the fractious times when the republicans wanted to sever ties with the British. The last few pages of the book are dedicated to certain topics arising in the story, factual accounts which I found really interesting.

Not only did I enjoy a thoroughly good read but I learnt quite alot about the history of the Americas and through Andersons writing I could imagine what life would have been like for slaves and servants at that time.

I enjoyed it so much I have just ordered the sequel "Forge" and cannot wait for that to arrive!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Megan Reads Books! on 30 July 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read every single book LHA has published (even the ones that weren't published in the UK....you can still get hold of them) and she has an extraordinary talent for making characters completely arresting and believable in a single sentence. This is her best book, and since she is an exceptional writer, this is high praise indeed!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By scriv on 12 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Learning about American history not only teaches perspective but gives a view of humanity from which, hopefully, lessons can be taken.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kulsuma at sunshine and stardust on 11 May 2012
Format: Paperback
Before I read Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson, I was unsure of whether it would catch my interest as I thought it would be a grim, depressing book filled with nothing but battles. However, I was soon proved wrong. Once I started to read the book, I found it extremely captivating and I immediately began to feel Isabel's every emotion and understand everything about her.

After their owner dies, Isabel believes she and her sister Ruth will be free, as promised in her owner's will. However, Isabel is horrified to learn that she and Ruth will be sold. Her and Ruth's cruel new owners, the Locktons, live in New York and it is there that Isabel is brought to the forefront of the American War of Independence.

The story is told well from Isabel's perspective. Isabel is in a world where she has very little power over her own destiny. She tries to exert some control over her life by making deals with people, but she is consistently let down. She has no power to protect herself but she must also try and protect her `simple-minded', epileptic sister, Ruth, who she loves very much. Even though Isabel faced immense pressure and suffered things that would have made many other people give up, she managed to persevere and dared to hope. Her need to protect Ruth spurred her on throughout the book and made her rebel.

Isabel's life was fraught with bad luck. She had several chances of having a better life than she had with the odious Locktons; however, she was stopped at every turn. Chains was gruelling at times as Isabel was a slave; a non-person. I was with her as she had to go through unendurable physical and emotional torment.
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