Children’s historical fiction, ages 9-12.
Tabby Copley can’t understand why, in the fall of 1773, her father would suddenly want to move their whole family from their comfortable house in a Massachusetts village to a lonely corn mill in the country, where the nearest neighbors are a mile away. But on the first night in their new home, Father shows Tabby and her brother, Dan, the secret of the mill: Below the millstones, in a hidden cellar, is a gunshop where Father and Dan will be making muskets for the Minute Men.
The secret of the gunshop has to be kept at all costs—especially from Tory spies, loyal to the king, and there are plenty of those around during the years just before the American Revolution. The question is—who are they?
Everyone suspects everyone else and sometimes the wrong people are caught and punished by angry patriots. And when a wealthy English family, suspected to be loyalist spies, builds a handsome country house near the mill, Tabby is torn between patriotism and her friendship with the new neighbors. Can she remain friends with Alice and Jack and still keep the vital secret of the grist mill?
“By making friends with Tories living nearby, Tabitha Copley caused a crisis in her own family and great concern in the town. This mystery of pre-Revolutionary days has a well-developed plot, good characterization, and gives an authentic picture of divided loyalties in a time of crisis.”
Library Journal (1962)