Young Adult Historical Novels: The Eighteenth Century


This page lists historical novels for young adult readers set in eighteenth-century Europe and North America.

American Revolution fife and drum players

The eighteenth century was a time of revolutions. The Scottish Jacobite Risings tried to free Scotland from English rule and put on the Scottish throne the grandson of their King James VII, Charles Edward Stuart, known as "Bonnie Prince Charlie." Although they failed, two other revolutions succeeded.

In 1776, the American Colonies rebelled. And in 1789, after the creation of the independent United States, the French rebelled against their monarch and created a republic noted for bloodshed. In 1799, Napoleon came to power in France, bringing a welcome moderation to the French government but spreading warfare across Europe in the Napoleonic Wars.

It was an era of seapower, so many novels set in the eighteenth century are about pirates and warfare at sea. In America, colonists and Native Americans struggled to understand each other and get along peacefully. In a bitter irony, African men, women and children were enslaved and brought to America, where they longed for the freedom their captors enjoyed.

Abbreviations for Awards and Honors:

ALANCB = American Library Association Notable Children's Book
BBYA = An American Library Association "Best Books for Young Adults" pick
CM = Carnegie Medal
CMH = Carnegie Medal Honor Book
IBBY = International Board on Books for Young People Honour Book
JFA = Josette Frank Award
NA = Newbery Award
NBA = National Book Award PHB = Printz Honor Book SOA = Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Jump to:

England, Scotland and the British Isles (teens)
England, Scotland and the British Isles (preteens)
France and the European Continent (teens)
France and the European Continent (preteens)
Colonial North America (teens)
Colonial North America (preteens)
The American Revolution and After (teens)
The American Revolution and After (preteens)


England, Scotland and the British Isles (books for teens)

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Veronica Bennett, Cassandra’s Sister: Growing Up Jane Austen (2006), about the young Jane Austen, who would grow up to become the writer of novels that are still beloved today. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Elizabeth Bunce, A Curse Dark as Gold (2008), historical fantasy abut a young woman who tries to run her family's woolen mill after her father dies, but discovers there is a curse on it. Recommended for ages 12 and up. BBYA

Nicole Castroman, Blackhearts (2016), about a rich merchant's son who returns from a year at sea and falls in love with a maid in his father's household who longs to sail to her mother's birthplace in the Caribbean. Recommended for ages 13-17.

Nicole Castroman, Blacksouls (2017), about Edward "Teach" Drummond, who would become the pirate Blackbeard, and a young woman who meets him in the Caribbean; sequel to Blackhearts. Recommended for ages 13-17.

Linda Collison, Star-Crossed (2006), about an orphaned British girl who goes to sea and dresses as a boy to train as a surgeon's mate; #1 in the Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventure Series. Recommended for ages 14-17.

Linda Collison, Surgeon's Mate (2011), about a young woman who masquerades as a man to serve aboard ship as a surgeon's mate; #2 in the Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventure Series. Recommended for ages 14-17.

Janis Dawson, The White Cockade (1998), historical romance about a girl who goes to live with her grandfather in Scotland and feels attracted to both a cousin who is one of the Jacobite rebels and an English military officer. Recommended for teens.

Miriam McNamara, The Unbinding of Mary Reade (2018), about a girl who goes to sea disguised as a boy, where she encounters the pirate Mary Bonny; based on a true story. Recommended for ages 14 and up.

Pirate Captain by Howard Pyle L.A. Meyer, Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy (2002), about an orphaned girl who disguises herself as a boy and goes to sea; #1 in the Bloody Jack series. Recommended for ages 12-17. BBYA

L.A. Meyer, Curse Of The Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady (2004), about a young woman who has disguised herself as a boy to work on a ship, but is forced to attend a school for young ladies; #2 in the Bloody Jack series. Recommended for ages 12-17. BBYA

L.A. Meyer, Under the Jolly Roger: Being an Account of the Further Nautical Adventures of Jacky Faber (2005), about a girl who disguises herself as a boy and joins the crew of a whaling ship to go in search of her sweetheart; #3 in the Bloody Jack series. Recommended for ages 12-17.

L.A. Meyer, In the Belly of the Bloodhound: Being an Account of a Particularly Peculiar Adventure in the Life of Jacky Faber (2006), about a girl who is abducted along with her schoolmates and forced onto a ship bound for the Barbary Coast where they are to be sold into slavery; #4 in the Bloody Jack series. Recommended for ages 12-17.

L.A. Meyer, Mississippi Jack: Being an Account of the Further Waterborne Adventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman, Fine Lady and Lily of the West (2007), about a girl who heads to America, tricks a man out of his Mississippi River flatboat and turns it into a showboat; #5 in the Bloody Jack series. Recommended for ages 12-17.

L.A. Meyer, My Bonny Light Horseman: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, in Love and War (2008), about a girl who becomes a spy for the British during the Napoleonic Wars; #6 in the Bloody Jack series. Recommended for ages 12-17.

L.A. Meyer, Rapture of the Deep: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Soldier, Sailor, Mermaid, Spy (2009), about a girl kidnapped by British Naval Intelligence on the eve of her wedding and sent to find an underwater cache of Spanish gold; #7 in the Bloody Jack series. Recommended for ages 12-17.

L.A. Meyer, The Wake of the Lorelei Lee: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, on Her Way to Botany Bay (2010), about a girl sailor who is arrested and sent to a penal colony in Australia after she docks her new ship in London; #8 in the Bloody Jack series. Recommended for ages 12-17.

L.A. Meyer, The Mark of the Golden Dragon: Being an Account of the Continuing Adventures of Jacky Faber Wending Her Way Back from Botany Bay (2011), about a girl sailor who escapes from an English prison colony in Australia but runs into a typhoon, pirates, and other dangers on her way back; #9 in the Bloody Jack series. Recommended for ages 12-17.

L.A. Meyer, Viva Jacquelina!: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Over the Hills and Far Away (2012), about a girl adventurer sent to Spain as a spy for the British; #10 in the Bloody Jack series. Recommended for ages 12-17.

L.A. Meyer, Boston Jacky: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Taking Care of Business (2013), about a girl sailor who arrives in Boston, where she runs into trouble with the Women's Temperance Union and hostility to the Irish workers who came om her ship; #11 in the Bloody Jack series. Recommended for ages 12-17.

L.A. Meyer, Wild Rover No More: Being the Last Recorded Account of the Life and Times of Jacky Faber (2014), about a girl adventurer framed for passing confidential U.S. information to the British, who goes into hiding as a governess for a Puritan family; #12 and last in the Bloody Jack series. Recommended for ages 12-17.


Nicola Morgan, The Highwayman's Footsteps (2007), about a young highwayman pursued across the moors by the redcoats. Recommended for ages 12-17.

Nicola Morgan, The Highwayman's Curse (2007), about two young highwaymen on the run in Scotland, where they are captured by smugglers. Recommended for ages 12-17.

Jade Parker, To Catch a Pirate (2007), historical romance about a seventeen-year-old girl traveling to the Caribbean with her father when their ship is attacked by pirates. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Kate Pennington, Charley Feather (2005), about a fourteen-year-old apprentice highwayman. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Celia Rees, Pirates! (2003), about an English girl and who becomes a pirate along with her friend after fleeing her father's sugar plantation in the Caribbean. Recommended for ages 12 and up. BBYA. Review

Kim Wilkins, Unclaimed Heart (2009), about a teen who stows away on her father's ship on a voyage to Africa in 1799 after learning her long-absent mother might be there, and meets an attractive pearl-diver who may hold the key to finding her mother. Recommended for ages 12 and up.


England, Scotland and the British Isles (books for preteens)

Feona J. Hamilton, The Brewer's Boy (2008), about a ten-year-old foundling who lives and works at a London alehouse which comes under threat from a new brewery. Recommended for preteens.

Karen Hesse, Stowaway (2000), about eleven-year-old Nicholas Young, who stowed away aboard Captain James Cook's ship Endeavour on its 1768 voyage. Recommended for ages 10-14.

Kate Pennington, Nightingale's Song (2006), about a girl who sings in her father's tavern and overhears a dangerous plot. Recommended for ages 11-14.

Rosemary Sutcliff, Flame-Coloured Taffeta (1986), about a twelve-year-old girl on the southern coast of England who discovers that a group of smugglers have brought a mysterious, wounded man ashore. Recommended for preteens.

Susan Verrico, Privateer’s Apprentice (2012), about the orphaned son of a printer who is kidnapped and forced to serve on a privateer's ship in the service of Queen Anne. Recommended for ages 8-12.

Jane Yolen and Robert J. Harris, Prince Across the Water (2004), about two cousins who join the Scottish rebellion against English rule with an attempt to put Prince Charlie on the throne of Scotland. Recommended for ages 8-12. BBYA

Jane Yolen and Robert J. Harris, The Rogues (2007), about a young Scot who teams up with a rogue in order to fight back after the laird evicts everyone in his village. Recommended for ages 8-12.


France, Italy and the European Continent (books for teens)

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Jump to Mysteries


Marie Antoinette Pat Lowery Collins, Hidden Voices (2009), about three orphaned girls in Venice who study music with Antonio Vivaldi. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Jennifer Donnelly, Revolution (2010), about a modern teenage girl from New York whose father takes her to Paris, where she slips back in time after reading the diary of a French girl who was the companion to the doomed son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Recommended for ages 14 and up.

Patricia Elliott, The Pale Assassin (2009), about a girl in a convent school in Paris who has no idea that a revolutionary mob is about to change her life; #1 in the Pimpernelles series. Recommended for ages 14 and up.

Patricia Elliott, The Traitor's Smile (2010), about a French girl who flees the Revolution to live with her cousin in England, but may have to return to France for her brother's sake; #2 in the Pimpernelles series. Recommended for ages 14 and up.

Sally Gardner, The Red Necklace (2007), about a fourteen-year-old gypsy boy working as a magician's assistant during the French Revolution. Recommended for ages 12 and up. BBYA. Review

Sally Gardner, The Silver Blade (2008), about a boy who returns to France after the Revolution to help smuggle aristocrats out of the country, thinking his girlfriend is safe in England, only to discover she has been kidnapped by an evil count; sequel to The Red Necklace. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Clare Frances Holmes, The Golden Clasp (1998), historical romance about two young people in France of the eve of the Revolution. Recommended for teens.

Gladys Malvern, Patriot's Daughter (1960), about the daughter of the Marquis de Lafayette, whose family is arrested during the turmoil following the French Revolution after he returns from fighting in America's War of Independence. Recommended for teens.

Carolyn Meyer, The Bad Queen (2010); about Marie-Antoinette, the extravagant and doomed last queen of France; #6 in the Young Royals series. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Carolyn Meyer, In Mozart’s Shadow (2008), about Nannerl Mozart, sister of the musical prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a girl who also feels a passion for music. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Celia Rees, Sovay (2008), about a French girl raised in England after the French Revolution who sets out to find her missing father and brother. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Sharon Stewart, The Princess in the Tower (2005; previously published in 1998 as The Dark Tower), about the daughter of the King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette, Princess Marie Thérèse Charlotte, who was imprisoned during the French Revolution. Recommended for ages 12 and up.


France, Italy and the European Continent (books for preteens)

Beth Levine Ain, The Revolution of Sabine (2009), about a sixteen-year-old Paris girl from an aristocratic family who, after meeting Benjamin Franklin in 1776, questions the marriage her parents have planned for her. Recommended for ages 10-14.

Emma Carroll, Sky Chasers (2018), about a girl pickpocket who meets a boy from the Montgolfier family who dreams of flying over Paris in his family's invention, the hot air balloon. Recommended for ages 8-12.

Christine Edwards, On Board the Boussole: The Diary of Julienne Fulbert (2002; also titled Voyage to Botany Bay and Stowaway to Botany Bay), about a French street urchin who, disguised as a boy, in 1785 inadvertently stows away on Count Lapérouse's ship as it embarks on its ill-fated voyage of exploration; published in Australia and not readily available in the U.S. Recommended for preteens.


Mysteries: The European Continent

Susanne Dunlap, The Musician’s Daughter (2010), about a girl in Vienna and her efforts to find out who killed her father, a famous violinist, and stole his valuable violin. Recommended for ages 12 and up.


Colonial North America (books for teens)

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Joseph Bruchac, Winter People (2002), about a fourteen-year-old Abenaki Indian boy in Canada who must rescue his mother and sisters after they are kidnapped in a British attack in 1759. Recommended for ages 8-12.

Jane Louise Curry, Dark Shade (1998), about a sixteen-year-old girl of the present day who travels in time back to 1758 and finds herself in the middle of the French and Indian War. Recommended for ages 12-17.

Walter D. Edmonds, The Matchlock Gun (1941), about a boy in Colonial New York who wonders if he will be capable of using his father's gun to protect his mother and sister in case of an Indian raid. Recommended for ages 9-12.

Diane Matcheck, The Sacrifice (1998), about a fifteen-year-old Plains Indian girl who decides to avenge her father's death. Recommended for ages 12-17.

Ann Rinaldi, The Color of Fire (2005), about a white indentured servant in New York who works alongside a black slave who is accused of treason and sentenced to death after a series of fires break out. Recommended for ages 9-12.

Ann Rinaldi, The Second Bend in the River (1997), about a girl from a family of Ohio pioneers who falls in love with the Indian leader Tecumseh. Recommended for ages 10-13.

Ann Rinaldi, Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons: The Story of Phillis Wheatley (1996), about Phillis Wheatley, who was captured in Africa and sold into slavery and went on to become the first African American poet. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Anya Seton, Smouldering Fires (1975), about a girl who is a high school senior in the 1970s with a phobia about fire which may result from a past life as an Acadian woman in eighteenth-century Connecticut. Recommended for teens.


Colonial North America (books for preteens)

Joseph Bruchac, Winter People (2002), about a fourteen-year-old Abenaki Indian boy in Canada who must rescue his mother and sisters after they are kidnapped in a British attack in 1759. Recommended for ages 8-12.

Walter D. Edmonds, The Matchlock Gun (1941), about a boy in Colonial New York who wonders if he will be capable of using his father's gun to protect his mother and sister in case of an Indian raid. Recommended for ages 9-12.

Ann Rinaldi, The Color of Fire (2005), about a white indentured servant in New York who works alongside a black slave who is accused of treason and sentenced to death after a series of fires break out. Recommended for ages 9-12.

Ann Rinaldi, The Second Bend in the River (1997), about a girl from a family of Ohio pioneers who falls in love with the Indian leader Tecumseh. Recommended for ages 10-13.


The American Revolution and After (books for teens)

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American Revolution reenactment

M.T. Anderson, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party (2006), about a boy who believes he is an African prince and is raised in an eccentric American scientific institution during the years leading up to the Revolutionary War. Recommended for ages 14 and up; also appreciated by adult readers. NBA, BBYA, PHB. Review

M.T. Anderson, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves (2008), about a boy who escapes from slavery and joins the British Army during the American Revolution to take advantage of their promise of freedom. Recommended for ages 14 and up; also appreciated by adult readers. BBYA.

Jean Rae Baxter, The Way Lies North (2007), about a fifteen-year-old girl from a family loyal to the British who is driven from her home by violence at the beginning of the American Revolution. Recommended for teens.

Gary L. Blackwood, Year of the Hangman (2002), alternative history about an English teenager exiled to the American Colonies after the American Revolution fails in 1777. Recommended for ages 14 and up. BBYA.

James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier, My Brother Sam is Dead (1985), about a teenager who must decide whether to remain loyal to the British like his father or to join the American rebels like his brother during the Revolutionary War. NA. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Melissa de la Cruz, Alex & Eliza (2018), about Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler, who fall in love during the early years of the Revolutionary War. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Melissa de la Cruz, Love & War (2018), about Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler as a young married couple as the Revolutionary War and its aftermath challenge their relationship; sequel to Alex & Eliza. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Terri A. DeMitchell, The Portsmouth Alarm (2013), about two boys, age thirteen and fourteen, whose lives are changed by Paul Revere's warning in 1774. Recommended for teens.


Cameron Dokey, Katherine: Heart of Freedom (1997), about a sixteen-year-old Boston girl with a loyalist mother and a patriot father, who decides to hide a young patriot in her room to protect him from his loyalist pursuers; #1 in the Hearts and Dreams series. Recommended for ages 12-17.

Cameron Dokey, Charlotte: Heart of Hope (1997), about a girl sent from the Indiana frontier during the War of 1812 to live in Baltimore with her aunt, where she finds life is not much safer; #2 in the Hearts and Dreams series. Recommended for ages 12-17.

Cameron Dokey, Stephanie: Heart of Gold (1998), about a girl who stows away on a ship bound for California during the Gold Rush after her father sends the boy she loves there to keep them apart; #3 in the Hearts and Dreams series. Recommended for ages 12-17.

Cameron Dokey, Carrie: Heart of Courage (1998), about a timid sixteen-year-old girl who finds courage during the Great Chicago Fire of 1871; #4 in the Hearts and Dreams series. Recommended for ages 12-17.


L. M. Elliott, Hamilton and Peggy!: A Revolutionary Friendship (2018), about a girl who receives a letter from young Alexander Hamilton asking her to help him woo her sister Eliza, a dangerous project in the midst of the Revolutionary War. Recommended for ages 13 and up.

Karen Hawkins, Catherine and the Pirate (2002), historical romance about a seventeen-year-old Boston girl who decides to deliver the ransom herself after her brother is kidnapped. Recommended for teens.

Lou Kassem, The Innkeeper's Daughter (1996), about a girl who works in her father's inn, where she overhears a potentially dangerous secret. Recommended for teens.

Sheila Soloman Klass, Soldier’s Secret: The Story of Deborah Sampson (2009), about Deborah Sampson, who disguised herself as a boy in order to fight in the Continental Army for American freedom. Recommended for teens.

William Lavender, Just Jane (2002), about an English earl's orphaned daughter who arrives in America in 1776 as the Revolutionary War begins, dividing her family's loyalties. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Elizabeth Massie, 1776: Son of Liberty (2000), about a sixteen-year-old Maryland boy, a free black, who wonders whether the American Revolution will be of any help to his friends who are slaves. Recommended for teens.

David R. Ossont, The Ghosts of Saratoga (2019), about a seventeen-year-old scout who trains as a sniper and takes part in the Battles of Saratoga in 1777 under the command of General Benedict Arnold. Recommended for teens.


Ann Rinaldi, Or Give Me Death (2003), about the daughter of the American rebel Patrick Henry and the family secrets she knows. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Ann Rinaldi, Taking Liberty (2002), about a girl who is a house servant - a slave - for George and Martha Washington and begins to question her life. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Ann Rinaldi, Cast Two Shadows (1998), about a fourteen-year-old girl in South Carolina and her experiences during the American Revolution. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Ann Rinaldi, Finishing Becca (1994), about a Philadelphia girl whose path crosses fatefully with that of Benedict Arnold. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Ann Rinaldi, Time Enough for Drums (1986), about a sixteen-year-old girl in Trenton, New Jersey, whose family supports the American patriots, but whose attractive tutor is a loyalist. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Ann Rinaldi, A Stitch in Time (1994), about a girl who decides to make a quilt to help keep her family together as they begin to take separate paths in life; #1 in the Quilt trilogy. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Ann Rinaldi, Broken Days (1995), about a girl who wants to stop a half-Shawnee girl from taking a place in her grandfather's affections; #2 in the Quilt trilogy. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Ann Rinaldi, The Blue Door (1999), about a girl who travels north to work in her great-grandfather's textile mill and heal generations of family wounds; #3 in the Quilt trilogy. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Ann Rinaldi, The Family Greene (2010), about a girl who learns that her mother, once a beautiful woman who lifted soldiers' spirits at Valley Forge, may have done more than just flirt. Recommended for ages 12 and up.


Betsy Urban, Waiting for Deliverance (2000), about a fourteen-year-old indentured servant who questions her feelings for an attractive Indian, her master's adoptive brother. Recommended for ages 12-17.

Allan Wolf, New Found Land: Lewis and Clark's Voyage of Discovery (2004), about fourteen members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and their westward journey of exploration across the American Continent. Recommended for ages 12 and up. BBYA


The American Revolution and After (books for preteens)

Laurie Halse Anderson, Chains (2008), about a girl slave sold to a master loyal to England during the American Revolution, who must decide whether to become a spy for the American rebels; #1 in the Seeds of America trilogy. Recommended for ages 10-14. BBYA, SOA. Review

Laurie Halse Anderson, Forge (2010), about an escaped slave who becomes a soldier with the American Patriots during the Revolutionary War; #2 in the Seeds of America trilogy. Recommended for ages 10-14.

Laurie Halse Anderson, Ashes (2018), about two escaped slaves trying avoid capture after Valley Forge and find the girl's younger sister who is still enslaved in the South; #3 in the Seeds of America trilogy. Recommended for ages 10 and up. BFYA

Laurie Halse Anderson, Fever, 1793 (2000), about a sixteen-year-old girl trying to find her mother during an epidemic of yellow fever in 1793 Philadelphia. Recommended for ages 10-14. BBYA.


Avi, The Fighting Ground (1994), about a thirteen-year-old boy during the American Revolutionary War. SOA. Recommended for ages 9-12.

L.M. Elliott, Give Me Liberty (2006), about a thirteen-year-old boy, an indentured servant in Virginia, who meets a kind schoolmaster on the eve of the Revolutionary War. Recommended for ages 8-12.

Joan Elizabeth Goodman, Hope's Crossing (1998), about a thirteen-year-old girl kidnapped from her father's farm by British soldiers hoping for ransom money during the Revolutionary War. Recommended for ages 8-12.

Anna Myers, Spy (2008), about a boy torn between keeping a deathbed promise to his loyalist father never to join the American rebels and thinking for himself, as his schoolteacher Nathan Hale urges him to do. Recommended for ages 10-14.

Roxanne Orgill, Siege: How General Washington Kicked the British Out of Boston and Launched a Revolution (2018), about George Washington's first military action after taking command of the Continental Army, when he set out to free Boston from the British. Recommended for ages 10 and up.

Gary Paulsen, Woods Runner (2010), about a thirteen-year-old boy who returns from hunting meat for his family to find their settlement burned, their neighbors dead, and his parents taken prisoner by the British. Recommended for ages 10-14.


Ann Rinaldi, The Secret of Sarah Revere (1995), about the thirteen-year-old daughter of hero Paul Revere and the secret she knows that her father's new wife does not. Recommended for ages 10-12.

Ann Rinaldi, The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre (1993), about a servant girl who must choose between her loyalty to her employers, the John Adams family, and her friendship with a British soldier. Recommended for ages 10-12.

Ann Rinaldi, A Ride into Morning (1991), about a girl struggling to care for her ailing mother while maintaining the family farm, who is faced with a risky choice when a soldier demands her horse in exchange for not turning her brother in to the authorities for rum-running. Recommended for ages 10-12.


Betsy Sterman, Saratoga Secret (1998), about a sixteen-year-old farm girl given the responsibility of delivering a message to warn the Continental army that the British are planning an attack, as she tries to make up her mind which of two boys to give her heart to. Recommended for ages 10-14.


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