Friday, November 27, 2009

Book Review: Daughter of Liberty by J.M. Hochstetler

Daughter of Liberty by J.M. Hochstetler is the first book in Ms. Hochstetler's American Patriot series. I bought it in anticipation of reviewing the third book in the series, Wind of the Spirit--my review will be part of a blog tour stop here on December 11 organized by Pump Up Your Book. My natural inclination is to read series in order, so I gave myself this duty to read the first two books in the series first. Book two, Native Son is already on its way here.

Daughter of Liberty is set in Boston in 1775, in the opening stages of what would erupt into the Revolutionary War. The main character, Elizabeth Howard, is an unusual young woman. The daughter of a prominent Tory family, she has secret connections to the Patriot cause. Although the role she undertakes is a dangerous one, her family's politics place her in an ideal position to pass information to the Patriots. Her subversive activities become even more dangerous with the arrival of Captain Jonathan Carleton, a British soldier she is intensely attracted to but who also has the job of ferreting out those who might be helping the Patriot cause at the expense of the British army. The story follows the fateful events at Lexington and Concord in great detail from both sides of the fight, and shows how Elizabeth and Jonathan both struggle with their faith in God's plan and purpose for their lives during these difficult times.

I really enjoyed this book. As a History teacher, I am pretty familiar with the events described in the book, and I was very impressed by the authentic feeling I got of the events as I read. I felt like I was there with the soldiers as they tried to retreat back to Boston after their clashes with the militia at Lexington and Concord. I became quite fond of the characters and felt invested in their story. I wanted to know what would happen next, and I was rooting for Elizabeth and Jonathan to finally reveal their secrets to each other. There were a couple of places where I thought some of the dialog didn't fit in with the time period--one example comes from page 20, where one of the characters uses the phrase "crack a book," which is a phrase that seems awfully modern to me. The other thing that stuck out in my mind was when Elizabeth took some quinine to "little Jimmy" to help with his fever--doctors at that time used the bark from the Cinchona tree (which contained quinine), but quinine itself wasn't isolated from the bark until 1820 (honestly, this is a fact I am familiar with only because it is discussed in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series LOL!). I think some of the medical information in this book is a little bit modern for the time period being depicted.

Despite these minor problems, I still found the story and characters immensely entertaining and interesting. I love that Elizabeth is a brave and strong woman who is not afraid to put her life on the line for what she believes in. I appreciated the Christian themes within the book--Carleton comes to a point where Elizabeth helps him see that his past deeds were not too terrible for God to forgive. There is also a bit of discussion among the characters showing how Christians of the time were torn over how to deal with the events that were taking place--should they fight for independence and the rights God gave to them, or should they remain loyal to the government that God had put into place? I was also impressed that this was a book that depicted the losses of war realistically. Elizabeth's family faces some hard losses, and near the end I was brought to tears by the weight of those losses.

★★★★ This is a great book. I'm giving it 4/5 stars. Can't wait to read the second book in the series!

**Source: I bought this book on Ebay.

This is my 12th book for the 1st in a Series Challenge. I'm now finished with that challenge!! ☺



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