Summer Reading Project: Chains

Natalie Speer


The plot in the story is a girl, Isabel Gardener, and her younger sister, Ruth Gardener, are fighting for freedom, without their mother and father to help them.

Here is the events:


*Main Characters- Isabel Gardener, Ruth Gardener, Curzon

*Setting- Madam Lockton's house, jail, the sea

Rising Action-

*Isabel and Ruth get sold to Madam Lockton and her husband

*Isabel meets Curzon, Bellinghams son

*Isabel hears about Lockton's plan to kill General Washington

*Isabel goes and tells Colonel Regan and learns the code word

*Lockton is arrested and Madam is left alone with the children


*Ruth gets sold, and Isabel stayed because she was drugged

Falling Action-

*Isabel tries to run away to get Colonel Regan but is caught by Madam, and is stamped by iron on the cheek for bad behavior

*Curzon later becomes a solider, and leaves Isabel all alone with Madam and Becky, the other maid

*Curzon goes to jail and Isabel meets him everyday

*She gets Curzon out of prison, but he is quite sick, so sick he could hardly even move


*Isabel and Curzon get on a boat to go find Ruth and save her, but they don't even know if she is still alive

Character Analysis

Throughout the book, Isabel goes through some real difficult conflicts. Like Ruth getting sold, Madam hitting her, Curzon going to jail, etc. She becomes very strong and brave when the story moves along. She plays a very respectful, delicate, responsible girl who is trying to find her way back to home, wherever that may be. She has too look out for her sister Ruth, which cannot be an easy task. But what else can she do? If you want to read more about Isabel's conflicts and struggles, read the novel!!!


The book Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson is a thrilling, adventurous, risk taking novel. It starts out with Ruth and Isabel at their mother's grave, praying that she will speak to them and protect them. They end up getting sold to horrible people, get in so much trouble, and end in a bad situation. So lets begin. Isabel and Ruth are taken on a boat by their new owners, the Lockton's, and the British aboard the ship, which is the rebels enemies. Isabel ends up meeting the son of the British leader, and they become friends, but more like kid spies. After awhile at Lockton's house, she hears news that could get her and Ruth out of there! Lockton and his friends were going to try to kill General Washington. Isabel was hoping that, that news was going to give her and Ruth freedom, but it didn't. Nothing happened for them. Except Lockton is moved to a different state, and his wife, Madam, is left with the children. Madam hates the children, so that is not good for them. Madam had decided that she didn't want Ruth anymore, so she made milk and put sleeping medicine in it, and gave it too Isabel. When Isabel woke up, Ruth was gone! She ends up getting very angry, goes to Colonel Regan to get her to be able to leave, but Madam finds her. She is in big trouble now! She is stamped with burning iron on her face to show her bad behavior of trying to run away. After all of that, Curzon becomes a soldier, and leaves Isabel. He ends up getting thrown in jail, and becomes extremely sick, that he couldn't even move. But that gave Isabel an opportunity to get him out of there! She goes up to the guard and says that he is dead, so she takes him out in a wheel barrow, and they escape to go find Ruth. But the problem is, they don't even know if she is still alive. She was sent to Nevis, and that is a place where they don't take it easy. Isabel seems to think that she would die instantly from working with the sugar cane. So her and Curzon get on a boat to go and find her.... and that is where the story stops. Cliffhanger, am I right!? But if you want to read more, get the sequel to the book called Forge!

About the Author

The author of the novel Chains, is Laurie Halse Anderson. She was born on October 23, 1961 in Potsdam, which is close to Canada. She has loved writing since she was in second grade! She started off by writing in newspapers and magazines, which is honestly a great start! But sooner or later, it was time to write an actual book. She had started sending in books to different publishers, but she was rejected by hundreds. Finally, after a couple of years, a company called the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators took her upon themselves. Her first recognized book was called Speak, in 1999. Little did she know, that the start of that book would transform her into the major author she is today. Once that book launched, she made so many more books. And finally, in 2008, Chains was released! That book won many awards, too many to even name! And a little fun fact, she has 4 children and a dog.
CHAINS by Laurie Halse Anderson - A Book Trailer