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Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration for All Ages, April 24, 2009
This review is from: Freedom's Pen: A Story Based on the Life of Freed Slave and Author Phillis Wheatley (Daughters of the Faith Series) (Paperback)
A tragic beginning, an unlikely intervention, and a life of hope and love... in the hands of a master storyteller. Award-winning author, Wendy Lawton, does it again in her most recent installment of The Daughters of the Faith series. Freedom's Pen is an historical fiction stand-alone billed for eight to twelve-year-old girls, but a book even the most sophisticated reader will enjoy.

Phillis Wheatley was kidnapped into slavery, sold on an auction block and transplanted into pre-revolutionary war-brewing Boston. She lived during a time when slave children remained uneducated, women were rarely published and most didn't believe a slave could learn to read much less become a celebrated writer. Despite all odds, she became a popular poet, the first African-American to publish a book, and one of the first writers to earn a living from her work. Maker of literary and American history Phillis Wheatley lived a life of humility and grace.

Lawton retells Phillis's early years with captivating scintillation. She flawlessly knits known facts and fictional details into a riveting story of loss, hope, and triumph. The reader is transported to Africa, the horrors of a slave ship, and then to the affluent Wheatley home in a way that is historically accurate, but without so much detail as to overwhelm young readers. Lawton handles heavy themes with an eye toward age-appropriateness.

The characters are riveting, real, and complex: from the cruelty of the slave traders, to the generosity and caring of the slave-owning Wheatleys, to Phillis with her heart-wrenching loss, struggle, and ultimate victory. Affluent visitors and resentful slaves in the Wheatley household add additional tension. Faith and prevalent Christian themes are explored and lived out without being preachy.

The ending comes quickly but leaves the reader satisfied. A back-of-book glossary and non-fiction notes add fullness and closure to the reading experience. Highly recommended for anyone with a bent toward history, humanity, or hope.

From the Christian Library Journal; used by permission.
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