War, death, slavery; patience, freedom, dreams. Isabel’s life is filled with contradictions. As one hopeful event occurs, painful ones follow. Ashes, the thrilling and long-awaited conclusion to Laurie Halse Anderson’s award-winning Seeds of America trilogy, continues the story of Isabel and Curzon, who have been thrust into the middle of the American Revolution. Isabel is heading back south with Curzon to find Ruth, her sister who was taken from her as an infant and sold. Finding Ruth, however, may not give Isabel the family she imagines. Ruth is scared and angry, plagued by seizures and distrustful of Isabel. Ruth, Isabel, Curzon and Aberdeen (a friend and companion of Ruth’s) begin the trip back north toward freedom, but this journey, in the middle of the Revolution and veering directly into the center of the Battle of Yorktown, is not simple for anyone.
Though it’s the final book in a trilogy, Ashes is accessible for readers who have not yet heard Isabel and Curzon’s story. For those who have, it is a satisfying finale. Filled with the horrors of slavery, the heartbreak of war, the compassion of forgiveness and even a touch of love, Ashes draws the reader deep into the lives of those who watched their owners and masters fight for freedom, even as they themselves were not free.