Chains - Laurie Halse Anderson

Their Momma passed away of small pox last year and Isabel promised her that she would keep watch over her simpleminded younger sister, Ruth.   Now, as they buried their current slave owner, freedom is in their sights. It was written in the Will, they would have their freedom, but this Will was in the lawyer’s possession, this same lawyer who has left for Boston and now the girls have nothing that substantiates their claim of independence. The year is 1776 and Isabel and Ruth are being sold again.


Isabel is furious that no one tries to help her find the lawyer with her documents; they can almost feel their freedom. It’s irritating to her but it is not something she gives up on.   Throughout the whole novel she is determined to find this attorney one way or another so they can obtain the freedom that they deserve. Her determination to keep her promise to her mother is also felt as there are times when her sister’s behavior causes conflict within the household and Isabel must step in to keep Madam happy. For if Madam is not happy, beatings can occur or individuals can be sold.   I really enjoyed Isabel’s character as she wasn’t a soft spoken character but one who knew when to overstep the boundaries for what she needed to do to survive and when she needed to blend into the shadows. I went through a whirlwind of emotions while reading this novel, highs and lows, being nervous and relaxed; I just never knew where Isabel would take me. I can’t wait to see where book two will take me but I know she is unstoppable.


“Look hard for your river Jordan, my child. You’ll find it.”