Midwest Book Reviews: Children’s Bookwatch

“The presentation of historical facts allows readers to arrive at independent conclusions and reactions.”

“[The characters] present at least two outlooks on the oncoming conflict; patriot and loyalist, in substantial complexity. The nonjudgmental approach to the presentation of historical facts allows readers to arrive at independent conclusions and reactions. Chronicling a very tumultuous and confusing time in the history of the North America, The Portsmouth Alarm: December 1774 will challenge and engage readers in a re-evaluation of historical foundations, actions, and events.”

Read the entire review at Midwest Book Reviews.

The Bowed Bookshelf

“DeMitchell conveys a marvelous sense of place and time, for even today we are able to visit the buildings she speaks of and can immediately connect to the cold and windy weather.”
– The Bowed Bookshelf: Thoughts on new books, publishing industry

“This novel is an aid for young adults (ages 10-16) to understand the complexity of the issues facing residents in pre-revolutionary America. The drama is quite close and clear to the reader, and gives one a strong sense of history. It could be a useful teaching tool in conjunction with a classroom curriculum module and I thrill to think of the fabulous field trips that can be taken in conjunction with studying this period of history.”

Read the entire review at The Bowed Bookshelf.

Foster’s Daily Democrat

“Seacoast author rekindles the sparks that set off the American Revolution”

Terri A. DeMitchell, author of the award-winning Olde Locke Beach Mystery series, based in the New Hampshire Seacoast region, has turned her talents in research and curriculum design to write an historical novel for young adults ages 10—16 that explores the origins of the American Revolution right here in New Hampshire.

“Facing challenges and handling conflict help to define our character. I am interested in exploring how children and young adults respond to these situations and develop resilience in the face of adversity and define their value system. I look for issues that can be viewed in multiple ways, ones where there are not easy or right and wrong answers. Then I develop strong characters to deal with those conflicts” DeMitchell said. “In particular, in The Portsmouth Alarm, all three viewpoints, patriot, loyalist, undecided, were common and valid ways of viewing the issues that led to the Revolutionary War.”

DeMitchell is the author of the Olde Locke Beach Mystery Series for children, the first of which, You Will Come Back, won the Mayhaven Award for Children’s Fiction. The second, Jigsaw, was a finalist for the New Hampshire Literary Award for Outstanding Children’s Fiction.

Read the complete article on The Portsmouth Alarm at Foster’s Daily Democrat.

J. Dennis Robinson

“DeMitchell has done her homework.” – J. Dennis Robinson


“DeMitchell reminds us that these were confusing and frightening times when only about a third of the population was in favor of a break with Mother England…DeMitchell has done her homework. A former elementary school teacher, college lecturer, and lawyer, she strikes a neat balance between defining the heady times and reporting the action. Why has Paul Revere come 60 miles from Boston in the worst of winter weather? Can the governor control the increasingly riotous citizens? Who really owns the gunpowder and the guns – King George or the people of New Hampshire? Is the raid an act of patriotism or mob rule?

DeMitchell wants young readers to make up their own minds.

– J. Dennis Robinson; Author/Historian

Read Robinson’s complete review and background on the story at SeacoastNH.com.

Kirkus Reviews

“A worthwhile read that personalizes the conflict that led to the American Revolution.” — Kirkus Reviews

DeMitchell’s YA historical novel is based on American Revolutionary Paul Revere’s legendary ride to Portsmouth, N.H.

When Revere set out to warn the citizens of Portsmouth, N.H., that British regulars were already on their way to Fort William and Mary on New Castle Island to seize the store of gunpowder, many in New Hampshire and Massachusetts immediately responded by taking the fort and imprisoning its soldiers. However, the information was inaccurate. DeMitchell tells the story through the eyes of two young boys, 14-year-old Andrew Becket and 13-year-old John Cochran, set on opposite sides of the conflict as misunderstandings compound and eventually lead to violence. DeMitchell states most of the characters, save for Beckett and the supporting character Joseph Reed, are based on actual people, though the account is fictionalized. Whatever liberties she might have taken with the history, DeMitchell has a talent for the small details that result in a vivid story. Readers feel the rush of the icy Piscataqua River as Beckett tries not to fall off the edge of a barge full of people and the strain of physical work. The story also avoids easy characterizations of heroes and villains; Beckett and Cochran are simply kids trapped in extraordinary circumstances. Gov. Wentworth could easily have been the scapegoat as a native New Hampshire man taking orders from the crown, but he comes across fully rounded. He, too, is trapped as he tries to stay loyal to the king while avoiding violence and advancing free trade in the colonies. DeMitchell’s aim is to provoke thought about the incidents that led to war. Beckett and Cochran feel like real people with real needs rather than handy political constructs or symbols: Beckett wants to avoid conflict and concentrate on bettering himself to get into Harvard, while Cochran feels loyalty to the crown through his father’s position in charge of the defense of Fort William and Mary.