Review: Seeds of Liberty by Claire Hennessy

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Seeds of Liberty – Three Battles for Independence

Claire Hennessy

Poolbeg, 2014

Historical Fiction, 10+ 

It is the eighteenth century, and revolutionary ideas are spreading – The Boston Tea Party in 1773, the French storming the Bastille in 1789 and the Irish Rebellion of 1798. Seeds of Liberty is divided into three parts, each told from the point of view of a young character caught up in revolutionary events in Boston, Paris and Wexford respectively. Each story is told in a diary format, allowing the reader see through the protagonists eyes as they witness, and take part in, historic events and grapple with ideas of revolution, liberty and nationhood.

While this book has a lot of information about life in the eighteenth century, it also tells three very memorable and engaging stories.The protagonists ( Jack, Catherine and Robert) are likeable and strong, and their curiosity about the turbulent times in which they live makes this historical period very accessible for readers. Their accounts capture the excitement and danger of the changes happening around them, while often being very moving. This is an educational and enjoyable read, one that makes history vivid for the reader. Derry Dillon’s illustration for the cover is bright and eye-catching, and highlights the dramatic events in the book. Highly recommended for history buffs aged 10+.

Claire Hennessy is an Irish author who has written many contemporary YA novels (Stereotype is one of my favourites). Seeds of Liberty is her first foray into historical fiction. She is also the new childrens editor for Penguin Ireland. Check out her website here.

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