Carrying Independence (A Founding-Documents Novel)

Written by Karen A Chase
Review by J. Lynn Else

All Nathaniel needs to collect is six signatures. If he does, he’ll have enough money to court the woman he loves and help his father’s gunsmithing business. His mission is one of secrecy, and if he’s caught, he’ll be hanged for treason. For Nathaniel carries the original Declaration of Independence, a document that could help turn the tide in the colonies’ fight for freedom. Alternating between Nathaniel, his life-long friend Arthur, their Shawnee friend Kalawi, and Nathaniel’s love interest Susannah, Carrying Independence explores North America through the eyes of different cultures and genders while examining the impact one document had on a fledgling nation propelled into war.

Chase’s novel is extremely well researched. I felt wholly immersed in the middle colonies of 1776. Her use of diverse characters highlights the Declaration of Independence’s impact on the varied peoples of North America. Kalawi’s point of view is particularly poignant. Susannah’s voice helps add a refreshing aspect to this part of history that can easily be forgotten, those figures hidden behind famous names and infamous battles. While the pace is a tad slow at times, overall, I was thoroughly intrigued by the journey. The characters develop in unexpected and insightful ways. Chase does a marvelous job with the landscape and social customs. I’d definitely read more from this author and recommend Carrying Independence.