The Family Greene
In 1764, the year she turns ten years old, Caty Littlefield’s mother dies and her father decides she must leave her home on Block Island to live on the mainland, where she can receive a proper education for a young lady in the home of her aunt and uncle. While living there, she learns of the growing unrest in the colonies that will eventually lead to war. She also meets her future husband, Nathanael Greene. Shortly after their marriage, the American Revolution begins and Caty eventually follows her husband, a general in the American army, to war. Years later, Caty’s own daughter, Cornelia, who is eight years old when her part of the story begins, is growing up on the Greene family’s plantation in Georgia. Cornelia loves her father, a good man who is kind to his children, and is disturbed by her mother’s behavior, as it appears she may be unfaithful to her husband. Cornelia is even more disturbed when her cruel older sister, Martha, suggests to Cornelia that Nathanael Greene may not be her father, that Cornelia may have been born from her mother’s affair with General Anthony Wayne during the war. Cornelia is desperate to know the truth, but at the same time she is worried that the father who raised her will be deeply hurt by her mother’s behavior and the possibility she may have had a child with another man. Although not my very favorite book by Ann Rinaldi, I did enjoy reading The Family Greene. I especially liked the historical setting, since I have always enjoyed reading historical fiction set around the time of the American Revolution. Despite Cornelia’s young age when the story begins (and she does seem a bit mature for her age at times, but some of that may be because in the 18th century children were expected to grow up faster), this is definitely a young adult book, due to the themes/plot which younger readers would likely have a hard time understanding. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy historical fiction set in this time period, or who have read and enjoyed other books by Ann Rinaldi.