Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson
There is so much to say about this book. The first thing that comes to mind is that the series has a strong finish. Clearly, Ashes is not an afterthought. Beginning with the striking cover which continues the bold silhouettes from the previous books in the trilogy, this case sets itself apart with distinctive colors and images. The book design, text font, and inclusion of colloquial language contribute to the story's authenticity without becoming overbearing or trite. No mean feat.
Each chapter begins with extract from a journal entry or other historical document, setting the stage and framing each chapter, seamlessly placing fictional characters squarely in events leading up to and concluding with the 1781 Siege of Yorktown.
As with the first two volumes, Anderson's storytelling skills are consistently evident. This is Isabel’s story. Beginning with the rattlesnake episode, short chapters reveal the strength of her resilience and resolve.
The book concludes with a fitting resolution to a defining battle in the conflict of American colonies seeking independence from Great Britain. Of equal importance is Isabel‘s struggle to be a free and independent woman in a society that labels her as property. "Freedom would not be handed to us as a gift. Freedom had to be fought for and taken."
This is historical fiction at its finest. A worthy conclusion to a stellar series.