When Hannah Atwater’s father goes marching off with the Minute Men in the spring of 1775, his last words to her are, “Remember, little daughter, when I come home, you’re going to read the Bible to me.”
As if poor Hannah doesn’t have enough to worry about, including war, the danger of smallpox, and storing enough food and firewood to last the Atwater family through the harsh New England winters, there’s also school. She just can’t manage to learn to read under the severe gaze of Master Hawkes, who whips naughty pupils at the least provocation.
But worst of all are the rumors that soon arise about the terrifying Hessians, soldiers hired by the king of England to fight the American patriot army. The Hessians, the older children tell her, are eight feet tall, have two sets of teeth, eat boys and girls for dinner, and are coming to find her. And when a procession of Hessian prisoners passes through their own village, Hannah’s greatest fear seems to be coming true—or does it?