The Inside Story: A Review of Cast Two Shadows

cast two shadows

If you live in the US, you have probably heard a lot about the War of Independence. Maybe you think it’s kind of boring: “The British fought the Settlers. Many died. The British…” However, I promise you that by reading this book, you’ll start thinking of the War of Independence in a whole new way. Because here you have it: the Inside Story.

Cast Two Shadows, by Ann Rinaldi, is a story of a young woman, Caroline Whitaker, who lives during the War of Independence. Her home is occupied by the British. With her black grandma, Miz Melindy, she sets out on a dangerous journey to fetch her wounded soldier brother from the swamps.

If you were to read me a list of adjectives, I’d pick “exciting”to describe this book. Although a journey to go fetch her brother might not seem dangerous, it is. In swampy places, malarial fever could be caught easily. Many people died from it. Even though Miz Melindy had cures for it in her burlap bag, the risk still remained. There was also the danger that British troops would bump into them. Then Caroline would be in trouble. They would question her, and probably force her to go back home. And there were the rebels too. They would come charging out of some hiding spot. Sometimes they’d slaughter you even if you were on their side.

But the greatest danger of all was definitely encountering the British troops. I’m not saying that the British people are evil (on the contrary!) but as a whole the British troops were ruthless. The book even starts with a hanging. Hangings are cruel things in themselves, but British official Colonel Rawdon didn’t stop there. He let bodies swing, for weeks and weeks and weeks. But don’t worry, the gruesome things in this book aren’t described in full detail. I’m just really good at picturing things–sometimes so good that I get scared!

As well being exciting Cast Two Shadows also felt real. The people dressed most accurately (eek, I’m using old-ish English! This book affected me way too much). The girls had wardrobes of dresses and Colonel Rawdon had the most showy uniforms. And the slaves talked in the way that they must have talked like in the 1700s: “I doan know where he is, Miz Sarah, I doan know.”

So all in all, I think you should read this book (I usually say that, for some reason). You should especially do so if you think that the War of Independence is b-o-r-i-n-g. Maybe you’ll want to become a historian! Because you will be hypnotized by this Inside Story.

You can buy this book here.

Ages: 10+

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