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Ann Rinaldi has written the best historical fiction books that I have read. She shows the reader how she believed life was like in historical families. In Or Give Me Death she makes it feel like the reader is in the Henry family and they have to deal with Anne's mother, Sarah, going crazy. Their family went through a lot, especially when they put Sarah in the cellar. It took them a while to learn how to cope without their mom being around. Then they learn the worst possible news, who is going to inherit their mother’s disease.

Anne is an adventurous, outspoken, and, thoughtful girl. Anne is adventurous. When Anne was a little girl she would run around and roll down hills with her sisters. She also helped John by dressing as a boy and buying a horse because people he didn’t want to recognize him were there. She is forthright. She stood up against Patsy when she was forbidden to see her mom so that she wasn’t too lonely all by herself for so long. She blew off her tutor so she could spend more time outside despite all of the reprimanding from Patsy Even though Anne is outspoken she is also thoughtful. She spoke up for fifteen year old Neely by writing letters about Andrew Estave, The colonies vintner who was granted land and slaves to work for him, administered her to forty lashes after she tried to run away. She helped her family most by telling them that she was the one to inherit her mom’s madness when it was actually John, her older brother. She endured her sisters multiple attempts to mold her so that she wouldn’t have the same fate as her mom. Even though Anne is determined and bold, she is also concerned about the well being of others.

First, Patsy tells her father that her mom is going crazy, a fact he already knows. Afterwards when her mother’s illness got more obvious and more dangerous they locked her in the newly renovated cellar as opposed to taking her to a jail-asylum. Then after going down to the cellar a couple of times Anne finds out who will inherit their mother’s illness, her.Later on Patsy and MyJohn got married and MyJohn tried to help Patsy hold the family together. Afterwards Sarah Henry’s strait dress was untied, the window was broken, snow was on the floor, and she was lying in bed coughing the doctor came. Her throat was nearly closed, she died the next day. After the British threaten to free slaves, Patsy was convinced they were trying to poison her because she thought they had turned against her. Afterwards Patrick married Dorothea and the family excluding Patsy, and MyJohn who are staying in the old home, and Will, who is at college, move to the Governor’s Mansion after their father becomes governor. Finally John was obliged to quit the service because he inherited his mother’s sickness and Barley is sent to bring him home.

In Or Give Me Death the theme is when do you keep secrets and tell lies to protect those you love? First, When is lying to keep the people you love safe wrong? Even though most people would like to keep those they love safe it isn't always the best thing for the people involved. Although Patsy’s dad had the best intentions when he married Dorthea it pushed John over the edge and made him crazy that much faster. Next, When do you go too far to protect those you love? While I’m protecting the people I love, I think I go too far when what I do affects people negatively. When Patsy's mom was going crazy Patsy didn't go too far when she locked her in the cellar because she was protecting the rest of her family. Patsy's mom thought she was doing the right thing when she took Elizabeth and ran away from the house but that would have drastically changed the Henry family’s life. Finally, when do you keep a secret and when do you tell a lie? I’d keep a secret when it will protect someone I care about as long as it doesn't affect too many people. Anne keeping it a secret that she bought the horse for John and lying to whoever sold her the horse wasn’t bad because all it did was save John from grief. Patsy and her family had to answer these questions throughout their lives just like how many families have to around the world in the present-day.

Or Give Me Death is a great story about how secrets tear a family apart and their struggle to rebuild their lives. I would definately recommend this book to others because it shows that families who keep a lot of secrets will have to face their issues eventually. It also shows how strong the Henry family's loyalty to one another is. This story resembles many lives now, maybe not with the same problems or solutions but it continues to prove that secrets and lies will ruin lives.