Monday, May 12, 2014

Redcliffe: The Adventures of Two Southern Girls by Kathryn B. Hauer

Redcliffe: The Adventures of Two Southern Girls by Kathryn B. Hauer
Series: N/A
Publisher: Redcliffe Management LLC
Format: Paperback
Pages: 207
Source: Author for Review

Having a best friend makes everything more fun! Join Caroline and Cassie as they chase down a runaway horse, rescue an orphan, teach hummingbirds to eat from their hands, visit a blind fortune-teller, unite star-crossed lovers, organize an elaborate Christmas pageant, and lose a little girl in a hide-and-seek game gone wrong. Sounds like fun any girl could have, doesn't it? Guess what - Caroline and Cassie live in South Carolina back in 1840, without cell phones, TVs, or cars. But living back then doesn't put the brakes on their crazy, fast-paced lives. Do you think that girls in history were dull and dutiful? Not these two partners in a house where the grown-ups aren't paying much attention, Caroline and Cassie get in - and out - of their share of trouble. Redcliffe is a book-within-a-book where modern-day best friends Bailey and Bianca lead readers to our heroines. When Bailey and Bianca go to their teacher's wedding, a mean guest shocks them with unkind words. The stories their teacher tells them explain that racist comment and take the girls back into the antebellum South where they - and you - get to know Caroline and Cassie. Living on an immense Southern cotton plantation means plenty of excitement for two fun-loving girls. Can Caroline and Cassie manage to stay out of trouble for more than one chapter? Find out in this lively novel where girls like you have non-stop adventures.

If you know me at all then you know I enjoy Middle Grade novels immensely. When I had the chance to read this book for review purposes I was beyond excited. I absolutely love anything to do with the American South around the time of the Civil War this includes the antebellum period as well as reconstruction.
Even though this book happens mostly during the 1840's in Pre-Civil War South Carolina, the beginning and end of the book is set during modern times focusing on a Caucasian and African American set of friends. The rest of the story is during the 1840's and focuses on a plantation owner's daughter who just so happens to be friends with the girl who is her slave.
For the most part the book is kept pretty light, which is good for the age level it is intended for, there are however times when the harsh realities of the time period are shown which I was grateful for. It was handled in a way that wouldn't be too harsh for middle grade children but still shows that life for slaves wasn't a wonderful thing.
Out of the two sets of girls, Caroline and Cassie were my favorites. They were smart and interested in learning. They didn't let the stigma's of the time they lived in get in the way of their friendship even though Caroline technically did own Cassie, I really do believe that they cared about each other. I think if more time was spent with Bailey and Bianca that those characters would have been interesting as well, but since only 3 chapters were spent with them I didn't really form any attachments to them.
As much as I enjoyed the focus and how it was portrayed, the grammar was a major issue for me. There were times where I was reading and there would be a word out of place or an extra word that didn't need to be there and it really threw me off.
Even with the issues with the grammar, I think this would be a good book for Middle Grade readers because it introduces history in a way that isn't too brutal but also promotes understanding that life was not good for slaves during the Civil War era.

**Copy provided via the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.**

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