HISTORICAL FICTION FOR BIG KIDS
Paperback editions available
REVIEW: But For Freedom, Elizabeth Rodger’s two-book series, is a sweeping saga that spans two continents, and centuries of Scottish and American history. In the end, however, it is a quintessential American story.
The two books, Across the Sea Beyond Skye and A Rebellious Echo of the White Cockade, tells the tale of the MacKenzie family belonging to one of the countless displaced and beleaguered clans from the Scottish Highlands fleeing the harsh oppression of the English armies in the 1700s. Following a harrowing sea voyage to the New World, the family makes their way to colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, to face challenge after challenge. Despite their many struggles, they eventually triumph to find the opportunities and freedom they’d long been seeking.
The two books are not just a story of the MacKenzie family’s search for freedom. It is also the story of America’s own quest for life and liberty in the years up to the American Revolution. Rodger is a skillful storyteller with a painter’s eye. She has drawn striking and compelling portraits of those turbulent times, as well as her characters, whether it be the irrepressible Robbie MacKenzie, a young Thomas Jefferson in Virginia’s House of Burgesses, or a fiery Thomas Paine. The author has deeply researched her subjects, and it shows.
Ms. Rodger also has a gift for voices and talk of the times. She occasionally includes Scottish dialects, which may have readers running to the books’ glossaries. However, her lilting way with her own native language adds a special flavor and a tone to the many tales she tells in these two enchanting books. But For Freedom is a uniquely American story. While it is historical fiction, like the best of the genre, it strongly resonates with events we still see today.
Children’s book author
Former Senior Editor – Golden Books
Book 1 www://longandshortreviews.com/book-reviews/but-for-freedom-by-elizabeth-rodger/
A MUST read! by GB: This author has an incredible skill to draw the reader into the story. She has obviously done an enormous amount of historical research and skillfully weaves a fictional story around it. Initially I struggled with the dialogue. However after the 2nd chapter I found it easy to understand. The dialect adds depth and richness to the characters. The story would not be as great without it. I could actually feel what the characters were feeling. My only disappointment was that I did not have the forethought to have purchased the sequel before I finished reading this novel.
Well written and engaging by Brooklyn Girl: Loved it. Could not put it down. Beautifully written, especially enjoyed the way it flowed. It took several pages for me to get the knack of the ethnic dialect, then it came easily and it added to the flavor of the story. Can't wait to find out what happens next in the sequel. Highly recommend this book.
FROM THE AUTHOR: On achieving my dream of creating books for young children, it was a remote thought I could be drawn from that calling for several years to write historical fiction. When a bee takes up residence in your bonnet it can be difficult to ignore the buzz. As a member of the Glasgow University Mountaineering Club hiking Highland hills, I sensed a deathly quiet in the eeriness of the empty glens. Delving into history, the atrocities committed after the Battle of Culloden stayed in my thoughts through the years. There came a point when the little bee was insistent motivating me to write the story. In Across the Sea Beyond Skye, and the sequel, A Rebellious Echo of the White Cockade, my familiarity of the Scottish landscape lent authenticity to the portrayal of the Highland family and the tribulations of their forced emigration to the New World.
ABOUT THE NOVELS: When their home is torched after the Battle of Culloden, Donald and Morag MacKenzie realize their only hope is emigration. After a harrowing passage on a disease-ridden schooner, the loss of the younger daughter to dysentery, they arrive in Yorktown where Donald is sold into slavery, indentured for a portion of the fares. The story follows their assimilation and eventual prospering in the culture of Virginia. Both sons attended William and Mary where the youngest befriended Thomas Jefferson.
Diminutive Scotland, the poorest yet most literate country in Europe having universal education, had great influence with the influx of academicians from its shores. One educator was the young William Small, professor of Philosophy at William and Mary and a disciple of the Enlightenment. One young mind that became captivated with the egalitarian concept of natural rights espoused by William Small is that of Thomas Jefferson as revealed in the Declaration of Independence.
Appreciating Scotland's Influence on America
Wow! We Americans should recognize and appreciate the contribution Scotland had in shaping our country. Rodger wove this concept into this novel in a very creative way. AH
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