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Harlow, Joan Hiatt. Midnight rider.

HARLOW, Joan Hiatt. Midnight rider. Simon & Schuster, Aladdin. 372p. map. c2005. 0-689-87010-8. $5.99. J

This is a Johnny Tremain-like story for girls who like horses. A few years before 1776, in Boston, a 14-year-old girl from Salem becomes an indentured servant in the home of General Gage and his family. (Gage was the most powerful British representative in Boston.) Hannah loves her horse Promise above all else. Her terrible aunt sells Promise to the family next door, but the boy (Will) who now owns the horse fortunately honors Hannah's devotion to Promise and stays in contact even when Hannah is in nearby Boston. Will starts working as a courier for the Minutemen, riding Promise from town to town carrying messages. Disguised as a boy, Hannah sneaks out of the Gage's household to ride Promise through Boston Common when she can, even when the British troops are camping there. Her sympathies are with those who want freedom from Britain, but frankly she is more concerned about her own life and her horse. A 15-year-old girl in the Gage household named Meg gets Hannah as her personal servant and the girls conspire to not reveal their secrets to the Gages. Meg is sneaking off to spend time with a British officer. But that isn't the last of the secrets in the household: could Mrs. Gage, an American, be spying on the British, working for the American patriots?

This story will basically appeal to horse-lovers, who will absorb a bit of American history in the process. It would be a good selection for middle schools, especially where there is a curriculum on the American Revolution. Claire Rosser, KLIATT

J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.
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Author:Rosser, Claire
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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