Monday, October 22, 2012

Come August, Come Freedom

Come August, Come Freedom by Gigi Amateau
4/5 stars
Candlewick Press, 2012
231 pages
YA Historical

Source: Received an ARC through Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.

While selecting books to read, I was intrigued to see that this was historical fiction set in 1800 and focusing on a slave revolt in Virginia, drawing inspiration from authentic primary sources to tell a moving story.

As I said, I loved the synopsis for this book and thought it was right up my alley as a student of American history. This wasn't my time period and I had never heard of this particular planned slave rebellion inspired by the Haitian revolution. Unfortunately I had a lot of trouble with the writing style. I can't quite put my finger on why as I didn't think it was opaque or too challenging. It just didn't click with me and made it a struggle to read this (really not long) book.

I mean, I liked the main character, Gabriel. Gabriel has had an unusual background, receiving reading and writing instruction from the mistress of the house alongside her son as the two are approximately the same age. He also played with the boy until the difference in their situations was brutally emphasized. But he went on to become an excellent blacksmith and to earn money for himself. His love for his girl Nanny and his education help him to plan and lead other slaves in a fight for freedom. While the other characters weren't as well-developed, they were still interesting to read about.

Overall: I loved the focus on a different kind of time period and excellent historical sources even if I didn't fall in love with it.

Cover: It's definitely not my usual kind of cover but I think that's why I like it. Plus the title is so perfect for everything that comes about in the novel.

Quote from author (so excellent I have to share it): "I love learning about people who lived during the Early Republic era. Gabriel's story illustrates how one individual's pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness can intersect with a nation's pursuit of a more perfect union. Gabriel went all in for freedom. To me, he is one of America's greatest patriots." (source-back cover of ARC I received).


  1. This sounds like such a great story! I'm sorry the writing style didn't work for you. I hate when that happens! Was Gabriel a fictional character or a real historical figure?

  2. This wouldn't be something I'd normally pick up, but probably should to expand my horizon. I like historical fiction, but tend to choose different eras than this. Too bad the writing style wasn't a great match.

    - Jessica @ Book Sake

  3. I liked reading about Gabriel too. And can definitely see your point about the writing style. For me, it wasn't bad because I was a history education major so I'm used to that kind of writing, but yeah it's not the sort you really whip through.

  4. This one sounds really interesting. Love historical fiction and it's a great cover.
    I know what you mean about writing style. I read lots of different genres and am open to most styles, but sometimes I feel like a particular writer's style isn't a good match for me.

  5. I'm surprised I haven't heard of this one. I love historical fiction and I especially love this time period. I will have to check it out.

  6. This is new to me. And it sounds fantastic. I have been reading a few more historical fictions lately and this is going on my wish list. Great review.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever


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