Amateau’s prose is appropriately passionate, but it’s tempered with disciplined restraint and moments of startling delicacy. Although the subject of this title will call to historical fiction readers who appreciate such thoughtful works as M. T. Anderson’s Octavian Nothing (BCCB 11/06), teens who approach history with the poetic insight of Marilyn Nelson will also find Amateau’s chronicle rewarding.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
Based on a true story of planned rebellion by “Prosser’s Gabriel,” Amateau deftly tucks well-researched period documents into the narrative at opportune moments. Her use of language is both startling and gratifying . . . an anguished tale told with poetry and heart.
In this beautifully written novel, Amateau makes Gabriel a fully realized character fighting not just for an abstract ideal of liberty but also for the freedom of Nanny and their future family. Amateau also makes good use of primary sources, sprinkling actual documents throughout the text. As did M. T. Anderson in his Octavian Nothing volumes (rev. 9/06; 9/08) and Kimberly Brubaker Bradley in Jefferson’s Sons (rev. 1/12), Amateau takes a long look at the tricky business of liberty in a new nation dedicated to freedom.
The thrilling role of the unrecognized young hero will grab teen readers.