Author: A.S. Peterson
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
My rating: ★★★★
Description: America is on the of war with England, and Fin Button is about to come undone. She's had it with the dull life of the orphanage, and she's ready to marry Peter and get away from rules, chores, and a life looked after by the ever-watchful Sister Hilde. But an unexpected friendship between Fin and the fiddle-playing cook, Bartimaeus, sets her on a course for revolution.
With Bart's beloved fiddle and haunting blunderbuss as her only possessions, Fin discovers her first taste of freedom as a sailor aboard the Rattlesnake. She's hiding some dark secrets, but there are bigger problems for the crew--they are on the run from the Royal Navy, and whispers of mutiny are turning the captain into a tyrant.
When Fin finally returns home, will she find Peter still waiting, or will she find she's lost everything she once held dear?
First of all, can we just admire the book's cover for a second? What really captured my attention was how the title was presented. The texture of the cover is, well, simply delicious, and the roughly cut pages fit the piece well. It gives it that extra dimension. I love holding it (and stroking it) and flipping through the pages. Also smells pretty good too, but what book doesn't?
I don't read the genre as much as I should, but I'm big on historical fiction. I'm trying to get into the habit of reading about one time period and coupling it with nonfiction books, like 1776 by David McCullough, so I can learn myself good on one subject. Right now I'm pretty interested in the American Revolution (next up: The Inventor's Secret by Andrea Cremer). I will say the book is more of a (serious) pirate adventure than a Revolutionary War novel. Fin mostly tries to stay alive rather than shape the course of the war, though she'd be happy to join the ranks if she could.
Fin is a rich character and her voice is phenomenal; her speech almost reminds me of Tom Sawyer. She's a tough tomboy, but unlike usual tomboy characters, she actually wants to settle down, get married, and have children. There's a lot of depth to her. I really enjoyed her character, which is rare of me to say about female protagonists.
The scenes are powerful and moving, the descriptions vivid. Sister Hilde's nose will be forever in my thoughts. I found myself terrified the characters I liked (and there were quite a few) were going to die. And some of them did. Bastards. It's pretty impressive when you're able to make me care about so many secondary characters, and at the same time make me hate (instead of love) the villains.
Quotes I enjoyed and, no, I didn't just steal them off of Goodreads even though they're the exact same ones posted:
"...time has a way of leading a person along a crooked path. Sometimes the path is hard to hold to and people fall off along the way. They curse the road for its steep grades and muddy ruts and settle themselves in hinterlands of thorn and sorrow, never knowing or dreaming that the road meant all along to lead them home. Some call that road a tragedy and lose themselves along it. Others, those who see it home, call it an adventure."
"Beautiful, that's what you got to do with that hurtin', you got to turn it beautiful." - Bartimaeus (my favorite character)
In the back of the book, the author includes a few extras, like short stories and letters written by Fin to her love, Peter. Mostly they're about her wondering who on the ship's been snufflin' her boots. I never did find out. I have a tiny attention span, so when a book ends, I'm done. It goes back on the shelf.
If you like pirate books, there's no reason not to read this one. It's a shame this book hasn't gained more popularity. It's truly an enjoyable read, and I look forward to the conclusion in Fiddler's Green.