The Freedom Maze by Delia Sherman: A Fun Historical Fiction Set in 1860

Thirteen-year-old Sophie isn’t happy about spending the summer of 1960 at her grandmother’s old house in the bayou. Bored and lonely, she can’t resist exploring the house’s maze, or making an impulsive wish for a fantasy-book adventure with herself as the heroine. What she gets instead is a real adventure: a trip back in time to 1860 and the race-haunted world of her family’s Louisiana sugar plantation. Here, President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation is still two years in the future and passage of the Thirteenth Amendment is almost four years away. And here, Sophie is mistaken, by her own ancestors, for a slave.

THE FREEDOM MAZE is going to be a big hit with historical fiction fans. I do think it is for mature middle-grade readers, but it’s a book that maintains the feeling of an even younger book, so I had a good time reading this.

First of all, I really liked the idea behind this story–but even more so, the way that Sophie grew through the course of this story. I felt like she learned a lot by spending all the time that she did in 1860 and while some people complained about how much time she spent there, I felt like it was the perfect amount of time for her to be able to experience everything that she did.

All in all, I think that Sherman did a great job explaining the world that Sophie fell into and writing about Sophie’s change in character. The premise was also really interesting and I enjoyed reading about it, as well as the historical aspects to this book. The time setting felt real and the things that went on during that time were very well explained. I think this is a valuable story for the tween audience and I had a lot of fun reading it, as well as learning about the lifestyle back then a little bit more myself. 4 stars.

pg count for the paperback: 272

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