The Anchor: P. Moore, Proprietor
Author: Blonnie Bunn Wyche
Pages: 204
Publisher/Date: Banks Channel Books/2003
Genre/Topic: Historical Fiction, American Revolution
Age Levels: 12 and up




review text

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The Anchor is a compelling story that pulls the reader into the lives of the Moore family, living in Brunswick, North Carolina. The year is 1764, and fifteen-year-old Polly Moore finds herself in charge of the family's tavern—the Anchor—when her father, a gambler and alcoholic, deserts the family.

The tavern is aptly named for it is indeed an "anchor" for the town. As a bustling, central meeting place, it allows Polly the opportunity to observe, listen, and learn as the current political situation in the colonies is hotly debated and much discussed. At one point she finds herself dressed as a boy so she can serve an evening meal to the "Sons of Liberty" as they argue against the much-despised Stamp Act. Another time she sits perched in a tree as she looks down upon an armed rebellion at Governor Tryon's plantation.

Polly herself is an anchor of sorts. A spirited, likable, insatiably curious young woman, she is able to keep her family intact while at the same time running the tavern, caring for her newborn brother, and overseeing a turpentine operation as well as a sawmill.

Unlike many young women of the time, Polly is able to read. One of her favorite authors is John Locke, whose writings encourage her to think critically about the events swirling around her. Polly, with the help of Locke, begins to form her own, independent ideas about politics, slavery, and the role of women in society.

The Anchor is one of those "just right" works of historical fiction. The author includes just enough carefully researched historical detail so that the reader becomes immersed in the sights, smells, and sounds of pre-Revolutionary North Carolina. And so we are able to witness the making of soap and candles, the horrors of human bondage, the ebb and flow of everyday life in a colonial town.

The author does not, thankfully, give the reader a "happily ever after" ending with Polly being "saved" by marrying her beau, Daniel. Instead, we find her making the decision to move the family to Wilmington, which is becoming the new center of wealth. It is a satisfying and fitting ending to a wonderfully told, perfectly paced tale.

Reviewed by the teachers at Education Oasis
©2003 Education Oasis



About the Author
Blonnie Bunn Wyche is an award-winning short fiction writer, former teacher, and "ghost writer" of a book about ghosts on the Battleship North Carolina.
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