Rachel is an indentured servant (first quibble- the Adams did not have indentured servants) to John and Abigail Adams at the prelude to the American Revolution. She serves them well until she meets handsome Matthew Kilroy of the British army guarding the Adams house. She questions intelligence and class a little too quickly for a girl with only a Dame school education. She befriends the completely WONDERFUL Henry Knox, who in history, saved our country and was a great man. But Rinaldi seems to have been enamored with Knox and given him traits that only a romanticized Knox would have had. Fictional Knox gives Rachel books and advises her. So… Rachel must decide between the kind Adams and the slippery Kilroy…

There’s no question who I would have chosen. And Rachel’s decision is not why I don’t like the book. It could have been written very accurately and beautifully. I just don’t feel that Rachel was a believable character because she didn’t really grow. Rinaldi took actions that made her seem to grow, but her overall emotional decisions didn’t match Rachel’s character.

Okay. I know that I should write a real review of this, but… I can’t seem to not be critical.

I have to wonder how much Ann Rinaldi researched. I don’t know that much about the Adams, having only read 8 or so books completely (and about 15 more in bits) about them, but I found GAPING holes and horrible mistakes. Okay, not horrible, but still. And I looked at the sources at the back of the book- one of them being the atrocious Those Who Love, a fictional account of John and Abigail Adams spanning from their courtship to death. It was so awful that after reading for half an hour, I immediately returned it to the library. It was gag-worthy just being closed in the house. Therefore, I was appalled to see that Rinaldi used this as a main source. That’s where Abigail’s submissive character in The Fifth of March comes from. There were two scenes which accurately portray her character- I feel I can say this as I have read most of her availible letters and four legnthy biographies. Also, I’ve read Jefferson’s, Washington’s, and John’s accounts of her. Not at all emotionally weak or demeaning to servants as Rinaldi portrays her.

And the name dropping in this book? Wow. Way to drop Henry Knox, MERCY OTIS WARREN!, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Joseph Warren, Thomas Hutchinson… all of whom the Adams had contact, but I did wonder what happened to their other close friends… such as Richard and Mary Cranch.

Oh, yeah. I had another MAJOR problem with the book. As my favorite author said, you don’t need to add anything to make history interesting. And Ann Rinaldi did. You know, she made it altogether too dramatic. The simple fact that Rachel was a servant to the Adams would have been a great book. But no… there had to be an awful romance with a british soldier (which NEVER happened) and a crazy uncle working for Thomas Hutchinson.

I know that I might be a bit of an Adams freak. But this book is inaccurate. Abigail Adams did not have a servant to dress her until the Paris years. She made her own butter. She was not an invalid (just weak and sick as she was older). And you know what? Abigail took care of her own children. It’s proven. The hired people that they had mostly worked on the farm. Sukie(the African slave) was also fictional, since Abigail cooked the meals most of the time (John LOVED her indian pudding.)


Please research more next time.

Hmph Hmph.