Wolf by the Ears

Wolf by the EarsWolf by the Ears by Ann Rinaldi

Review by Laurie Doan

 Do you love the music from Hamilton? Want to learn more about that time?
Time is running out for Harriet Hemmings, rumored to be the daughter of Thomas Jefferson, who must choose between a life at Monticello and a life of freedom. This historical novel is told in the form of a diary.

Harriet will be turning twenty-one soon and will be forced to choose between the only home she’s ever known and true freedom. The kind of freedom which can only be bought through secrets and disguise.

Well dressed, well schooled, well fed, and well loved. Harriet Hemmings has it all. Or does she? Raised at Monticello, the daughter of Sally Hemmings, she is also rumored to be the daughter of Thomas Jefferson. Thus she is held in high esteem by the man himself and feels in her heart that he will protect her. But he is getting old and losing his money. If something happens to him, what will happen to her?

Would she be sold with the place? Or will the slaves in Virginia be set free? When the Governor of Virginia pleads with her to take her freedom she is hesitant and says, “But you’re going to free Virginia’s slaves.”

He replies, “The pro-slavery people in this state are too strong. Look at my father-in-law. He can’t make his mind up about slavery. Hates it, yes. Says it’s a wolf America has by the ears. And that we can no longer hold onto it. But neither can we let it go.”

If Harriet doesn’t take her chance when her time comes, can she count on continuing to be treated well? Or will she too be caught like a wolf by the ears?

Check availability on Wolf by the Ears by Ann Rinaldi
About the reviewer: Originally written for the LibraryKeeper’s Review of Books, Laurie reviewed this book back in 2009. She serves Tredyffrin Township as the young adult librarian at TPL.