Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Soldier's Secret

The soldier’s secret: the story of Deborah Sampson by Sheila Klass is a historical novel based on the true story of Deborah Sampson. The time is 1776 and Sampson enrolls in the Continental Army to fight the British. The opening chapter is riveting, with Sampson under the name of Robert Shurtliff, in an army hospital and taken for dead.

Although very much not dead, Sampson must pretend to be so because to be discovered a woman, would be as good as dead. Her secret however, is discovered by army doctor who removes Shurtliff from the hospital and cares for her. At his request, she writes her story, telling about her difficult childhood and her motives behind deciding to serve in the army. Along the way there is a tender love story and a bit of tragedy too that will pull young readers in.

Two major reasons I enjoyed this book were the beginning chapter: Klass’s hook is excellent, drawing the reader into what promises to be a fascinating story and that promise is fulfilled. The book begins in the present and then proceeds to fill in the history.

Secondly, the book is a quick read, not drawn out and therefore likely to interest young adult readers.

Highly recommended for ages 12 and up.

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