Patrick Henry, the famous statesman, has a secret: He keeps his wife in the cellar. Slowly losing her mind, Sarah Henry has become a danger to herself and her children. But daughter Anne has a secret of her own: She knows which child will inherit their mother's madness.
Told from the point of view of the Henry children, this compassionate tale explores the possibility that Patrick Henry's immortal cry of "Give me liberty, or give me death," which roused a nation to arms, was first spoken by his wife as she pleaded for her own freedom.
Includes a reader's guide.
This often gripping but also melodramatic novel set just before the Revolutionary War explores Patrick Henry's tragic domestic life, from the point of view of two of his daughters. Patrick's wife, Sarah, is "mad" in the opening scenes, she tries to drown their infant son. As Patrick travels extensively, "to talk about the new evils sent to us by the king," 16-year-old Patsy, the oldest child and the first narrator, is left to cope with his disregard for "the evil going on here at home under his own roof." It falls to Patsy (and her intended, MyJohn) to investigate the institution someone recommends and, when it proves barbaric, to contrive for her father to confine her mother to the cellar. Throughout, Patsy must run the household and supervise her four youngest siblings, albeit with the help of slaves. Rinaldi (A Break with Charity) effectively switches narrators midway through, when she adopts the voice of spirited middle sister Anne, who chafes under Patsy's tyrannical rule and the web of household secrets. While the portrayal of Patrick Henry is unusually complex, the author romanticizes Sarah's illness. For example, the unstable woman's pleadings get credit as the source of Henry's most famous line ("Give me liberty or give me death!"), and the plot hinges on the device that Sarah is both prophetic and recognized as such by her daughters. Some young readers may enjoy the supernatural overlay; to others, it may cloud an otherwise perceptive view of the dynamics of a family in distress. Ages 10-14.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I had to read this for school and i was really upset at first but then I started reading and I could not stop It. Is such a page turner
I recommend this book for people of all ages to read this book you will enjoy and cherish the amazing journey of this pore family with a crazy mother
I got an A+ on the paper I wrote bc ther is so much great detail
Ull luv it