The author gives the reader many historical details while making it interesting. In the process, some grim realities of war and slavery are exposed. People die in battle and by lynching, and a cannon decapitates a boy. Isabel is badly beaten and her face branded. That said, historical accuracy serves the reader well, depicting the flaws in both parties and ultimately delivering a happy ending. Although this book seems to be marketed more for the Young Adult audience, a mature sixth grader would benefit from reading this book, especially in the classroom, as it is loaded with historical information about our country and discussion-worthy themes such as freedom, human rights, slavery, war, coming of age, power, and the role of women (both black and white). Chains is not for the reluctant reader, who may find it a bit slow.