Monday, June 3, 2013

A Spy in the King's Colony

A Spy in the King's Colony (Mysteries in Time (Silver Moon Press))is a short historical fiction novel from the Mysteries in Time series. This book is set during the occupation of Boston.

When I first read the name of the series, I thought it might be another time travel series, but it is not. The mystery in time refers to a mystery story set in a historical time. Not a time travel mystery, like the two previous books I reviewed.

This is a short easily read chapter book. It takes place during the time the British troops occupied Boston during the Revolutionary War. One of the strengths of this book is that it helps to illustrate the divisions that occurred among families and friends over loyalties. This is often emphasized when children study the Civil War, but less so when they read about the Revolutionary War. This story is told from the point of view of eleven-year-old Emily Parker. She and her family are loyal Patriots. Her father has taken great risks for the cause. However, she has doubts about a lifelong friend of the family and fears his loyalties may be in question.

Her adventure of discovery provides children with some understanding of how confusing it must have been for children who moved among friends who might also be foes. A misplaced word or confidence for a child on either side could have dangerous consequences for the child's family or friends.

The book provides some interesting historical details regarding the use of spies during the war. It also provides more details about how the colonists prevented the British from discovering Knox's movement of munitions to Boston. The details are not great, but the rhyme in this book is one of the few mentions in a children's book I've seen of Framingham. In all I have not discovered too many children's books that focus on how Washington forced the British to leave Boston. The main story seems to be Lexington and Concord. While those events are important, the British troops leaving should not be ignored.

I also like this book because there is a strong girl as the main character. While woman's positions in the Revolution were limited do to women's situations in society, it does help modern girls to connect to the material when you bring female characters to the story who are strong interesting females engaged in telling the story. I have had complaints from younger female relatives that all I ever find are "boys" stories when I find adventure historical fiction. They want the girls to have adventure, too. This story fills that requirement.

It appears this book is currently out of print. However, I found my copy at the local library. I suspect there are several used book sites that also may have it if your local library does not have a copy.

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