Title: Lizzie and the Redcoat
Author: Susan Martins Miller
Series: Sisters in Time
Major Themes: American Revolution, Boston
Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Lizzie and her brother find themselves in the middle of the controversy raging in 1765 Boston over the taxes that Britain is levying on the colonies.
I’m always a bit dubious of a series like Sisters in Time. I kind of expect them to be what I consider twaddle, not worth taking time to open. This series, however, has turned out to be fairly good, and I’m glad I read a couple of them.
Lizzie and the Redcoat is set in Boston in 1765, shortly after the end of the French and Indian War (known as the Seven Year’s War in Europe), and just 10 years before the American Revolution broke out. Tensions are growing in the colonies, especially now that Parliament has passed the Stamp Act. The colonists are becoming polarized—some are angry that they are being taxed by a country across the sea, and others believe they should obey the laws. Lizzie Murray and her brother Joshua find themselves in the middle. Their father, a printer, believes that in all fairness he should print both sides of the controversy. Joshua is highly influenced by the Sons of Liberty, but Lizzie is getting the impression that that group is no more than a rioting mob. Can she manage to stay in the middle of the controversy without being drawn into either extreme? What should she do when a redcoat, a British soldier, is badly injured right before her eyes?
I liked the point of view of this story. The characters are presented very realistically. The children are not the ones who save the day; they are shown helping their parents and other adults. Lizzie obeys her parents, and Joshua does most of the time, although as a 14- and 15-year-old he is becoming an adult and making more of his own decisions. They do find themselves caught up in the protests, but mainly on the edges. I appreciated the way Susan Martins Miller was able to catch the challenges of the time; it felt very authentic. I also enjoyed the family relationships, and how the brothers and sisters interacted lovingly with each other. Lizzie’s growth in trusting God was shown in a very real, believable way, as well.
WARNING: There is some fighting, especially in chapter 6 when a mob injures a young British soldier.
Listening Level—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12