Caroline, like everyone else in Sackets Harbor is waiting anxiously for the first supply boats of the year to arrive. Without supplies, the shipyards can’t build boats to fight the British. When Caroline and her friends Rhonda and Seth go out fishing in Papa’s skiff, they’re excited to catch sight of a supply boat–until they realize that it’s being chased by a British warship! Desperate to save the supply boat, Caroline comes up with a daring idea. Will her plan work? Or is it a dangerous and foolish risk? Caroline has no time to think–she can only plunge ahead.
After setting the war aside–for the most part, at least–in A Surprise for Caroline, Kathleen Ernst brings her readers back to the harsher reality of Caroline’s life in Caroline Takes a Chance, the fourth book of the American Girls: Caroline sextet. Personally, I appreciate the return to the larger conflict–which isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy Surprise, of course!
Much of the plot is focused on the difficulties at Caroline’s family’s shipyard and Sackets Harbor in general, but I found the most interesting aspect by far to be the sudden resolution of the “Caroline’s father” subplot. I definitely didn’t expect it to be resolved until Changes for Caroline, the sixth and final book, and I’m quite looking forward to seeing where Ernst takes the story now that this particular thread has been addressed.
As usual, Caroline herself is a bright, capable young woman deserving of and treated with respect from the supporting cast of adults. She continues to be a wonderful addition to the American Girl line-up and her story remains fresh and interesting. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of her books (Caroline’s Battle, Changes for Caroline, and Traitor in the Shipyard) before revisiting the rest of the franchise’s wonderful protagonists.
Highly recommended to young readers interested in the American Girls franchise or (a U.S. perspective on) the War of 1812.
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