Synopsis: Laura Ingersoll grew up in the unrest following the Revolutionary War, and after a time the family immigrated to Upper Canada. It was there Laura met James Secord, her future husband. During one of the initial attacks by the Americans, James was wounded in battle, leaving him permanently injured. So when Laura learned of a secret plan for another invasion, she had no choice but to make the dangerous trek to warn the British outpost herself.
Author: Connie Brummel Crook is a former teacher and historian who authored several children’s books. These stories often focus on the history of Canada, and have been known to be nominated for and win awards. Connie was born in Prince Edward County, but now lives in Peterborough, Ontario.
Cover: The art work on the front of the book is not all that inspiring, showing the image of a girl in front of a Royal Union flag. It is made only slightly more intriguing due to the girl’s head and shoulders being angled from the bottom right corner of the cover. The back has the image of the top of an American flag and the bottom of the Union Jack separated by the synopsis.
Hook: These novels are fictionalized version of Canada’s history. It allows children and young adults to learn about their heritage in a way that is more interesting than a school textbook.
Pacing: The story starts when Laura is at the age of twelve, skips to her early twenties, and fast-forwards until she is thirty-seven. While this is somewhat jarring to the flow of the book, it allows the focus to remain on the three major times in Laura’s life.
Plot: The book combines historical fact, supposition, and a bit of pure fiction. Various aspects of this novel are founded from other literary sources and references.
Character Development: The driving force of this book is not the characters, but the historical facts. Nevertheless, Laura’s actions allow her personality to shine through for the reader, showing the heroine to be compassionate and curious, with occasional moments of temper. Most importantly, Laura never hesitates to do what needs to be done.
Character: Red is a boy that Laura befriends during her childhood, who she later meets again during the war. He is the most interesting character in the novel, possibly because he is completely fictitious. Had this novel not been based on fact, the reader would suspect him to be the future romantic interest of the heroine.
Romance: The story briefly touches on a childhood infatuation between Laura and Red, but it eventually fades. The stronger and more mature love between Laura and James Secord is shown through the couple’s devotion to each other, without ever focusing too strongly their relationship.
Point of Interest: Included in this book are two maps, one of the Ingersoll’s journey from Massachusetts to Queenston and the other of Laura’s route to warn the outpost. The Ingersoll map is a bit small and somewhat difficult to follow, particularly since a bit of it is cut off. It may have been better for that map to be turned to sit horizontally on the page. The second map tracing Laura’s walk is much larger and comprehensible, yet located near the back of the novel.
Quote: She didn’t really have a choice. She would carry her message to FitzGibbon.
The Verdict: Connie Brummel Crook has been a favourite of mine since reading the Meyers Saga years ago. While I enjoyed this book less than others I have read by this author, it is definitely a book worth reading. Connie always has a way of making history interesting.