Monday, February 18, 2013

The 15th Star

The 15th (Fifthteen) Star is listed as a Lisa Grace History-Mystery.  I obtained it as a free book thanks to  

The 15th Star from the flag that flew over Fort McKinley when Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner has not been found.  This book is a fictional account of the hiding and the discovery of that star.  
The story is told from the view points of two women.  Grace Wisher was a runaway slave who pretended to be a free woman when she arrived at the home of Mary Pickersgill, a seamstress.  As most slaves Grace could not read nor write.   Mary has her sign a contract which turns out to be an agreement to be indentured until she can pay for her freedom.  The other woman is Keiko Zorban who is working at the Smithsonian as an intern while obtaining her Masters.  Keiko discovers letters that Grace wrote to Louisa Armstead (after she learned to write) which leds her to the 15th star.

Mrs. Armstead had sent pieces of the flag to heros and she considered Grace a hero.  She had witnessed the fact that Grace had been raped by Major Rivers after she delivered the flag to the Fort. Grace had sent her a letter saying that she had seen Major Rivers with the lady who had delivered her baby to him outside the woman's home.  The woman is later found dead so Grace assumed he had killed her.  Grace also put a copy of the letter with the star which she hid.

In the present, there is a relative of the Major who does not want the past to be revealed.  He wants to be able to run for President of the US but does not want the past action's of the Major to ruin his chances.  He will do anything to stop the secrets of the past becoming news in the present.

This book has wonderful descriptions of travel in the early 1800's as well as cars.  I felt I was in some of the buildings that are described and can understand how easy it could be to get lost in them.  
It is interesting to see how much Grace grows from her beginnings as a slave to someone who can read and write.  

I really enjoyed reading this book.  It makes reading about the history of our country more interesting.  It has just enough mystery and romance to keep you interested.  I would like to know more about Grace's parentage - she most probably would have had at least one white ancestor for her baby to come out so white.  This would not be uncommon in the period.  I certainly would recommend this book to mystery or history fans.

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