Laurie Halse Anderson

Maggie Barnett

  After  her mothers death, even though ten-year-old Isabel and her younger sister are supposted to be freed they are sold back into slavery. They move to New York and are forced to work for the loyalist, wealthy Lockton's. Isabel is forced to do hard labor, while her five-year-old sister is favored by Mrs. Lockton. Both Isabel and Ruth learn the hardships of being a slave and what it's like to be treated like someone's property. In the end she escaped and no longer belonged to the Lockton's.

  The book takes place in New York City during the Revolutionary War when America was declaring independence from Great Britain. Isabel spends most of her days working at the Lockton's house. It consisted of four floors and large windows. The slaves were not allowed to enter the front door, they had to go in the side gate. The house had many rooms such as a library, a parlor, and a drawing room. Near the end of the story Isabel travels to the prison to see one of her friends, a fellow slave her age.  The prison was dark, cold, and very uninviting. The slaves there were very sick and rarely given food.


  • While researching Fever 1793, Laurie Anderson learned Ben Franklin was a slave owner
  • While researching Independent Dames, she learned that girls and women were active participants in the American Revolution
  • The two above facts along with additional research led her to write Chains
  • Mrs. Anderson lives in New York state about 90 minutes from the Canadian border, close to Lake Ontario
  • Her husband built her a writing cottage
  • When she is writing historical fiction, like Chains , she does research for a year prior to writing
  • In her historical fiction novels, she develops the plot first, but with her other young adult novels she develops the characters first
  • Several of Mrs. Anderson’s books have been made into movies (Speak, Fever 1793 and Chains).

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