CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Donna Smyth.
Halifax, NS: Formac Publishing, 1991.
136pp., paper, $8.95.
ISBN 0-88780 086-6. CIP.

Grades 4-8 / Ages 9-13

Reviewed by Constance Hall.

Volume 20 Number 3
1992 May

What does it mean to be a good Loyalist? This exciting, fast-paced story is all about the adventures of a very independent, feisty eleven-year-old girl who grows up during the time of the American Revolution. As Loyalists, Kitty Byles and her immediate family leave Boston in 1776, but her grandfather and two aunts stay behind. Her Uncle Tommy, to the dismay of the family, joins the Revolutionary forces, instead of fleeing to Halifax. As her family tries to find a new life, Kitty develops her Great Plan to return to Boston and find her uncle.

After an argument with her father and stepmother, Kitty dresses as a boy and runs away. She is soon forced into service as a cabin boy. After the ship is captured by a privateer, Kitty is left in Plymouth to care for the sailor that caught her in Halifax. She must help him recover from a terrible wound and at the same time try to find a way to get to Boston. She not only visits her grandfather and her two aunts, she also finds her Uncle Tommy in George Washington's army outside New York City. With his help she is able to return to Halifax with the First Fleet, the boats carrying 5,000 Loyalists. She also helps reunite a young black man with his family, who have settled in Halifax.

This skilfully written book helps us to see a realistic view of what life was like for the civilian population, the Loyalist refugees, and the soldiers during this period in history. War creates terrible hardships for both sides. The characters reveal their emotional ties to each other and to England in a book that is hard to set down.

Constance Hall, Hampton, ON.
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