Acts of Courage — Laura Secord and the War of 1812

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Publisher: Pajama Press: Toronto, 2012.
Cover Art:  Brian Deins
Summary: A story of Laura’s life and bravery.

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“Historical fiction with an ‘Aha!’ moment or two”

CanLit for LittleCanadians reviews Acts of Courage

“By staying true to Laura’s undertaking while adding an interesting twist (fictional, of course), Connie Brummel Crook has taken this book from biography to historical fiction with an “Aha!” moment or two.

…[N]o subplot or component of the story is gratuitous, each important in explaining and moving the plot to Laura’s climactic walk, probably best described as a combination trudge, plod, wade, slog and creep.  Luckily Connie Brummel Crook’s telling of Laura Secord’s story lacks the toil and anguish of our heroine’s defining moment and instead takes the reader through Laura’s life’s journey to better understand the choices and connections she has made throughout.”

–Helen Kubiw


Acts of Courage“a rousing success,” says  Ten Stories Up

Acts of Courage made me want to go dig up more information, which is surely a goal of history writers everywhere – to inspire interest in what really happened.  In that sense, a rousing success!

…to people who think Canadian history is boring – this book will change your mind.”

– Lindsey Carmichael


Resource Links calls Acts of Courage “an awe inspiring infatuation with Laura Secord”

“Laura Secord in Acts of Courage: Laura Secord and the War of 1812, is brought to life as a determined ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, adventurous, curious, robust, generous and courageous, taking risks to help the ones she loves—mainly family and country. Connie Brummel Crook has created an exceptional account of what would or could have been Laura Secord’s life. She depicts vivid landscapes and interiors of the 19thcentury with exquisite imagery…

…In Acts of Courage: Laura Secord and the War of 1812, Connie Brummel Crook creates an awe inspiring infatuation with Laura Secord, through richly descriptive period imagery, plot motion, language and sequences that are fitting for both 19th century and present day readers. The interweaving of both fictitious and real characters is executed seamlessly, with cleverly woven twists and an unexpected conclusion.

A love story, with war, passion, humanity; it is a dynamic and fascinating story that demonstrates the implacable resolve of women in that period. It is something that can be admired by all.”


Kirkus says Acts of Courage is great for American kids, too

Written from a Canadian perspective, this well-researched and -documented historical novel offers young readers a fascinating perspective on the events following the American Revolution and leading up to the War of 1812… The author tells a good story and presents some fascinating and little-known history (including such issues as slavery, economics, and social justice) in an interesting way. A historical note, sources and maps supplement the account. An opportunity for American children to see a little-known war through a rarely considered lens.

— Kirkus

“Author Connie Brummel Crook brings a Canadian legend to life”

Acts of Courage: Laura Secord and the War of 1812 is written by established historical fiction author Connie Brummel Crook (The Nellie McLung Trilogy, The Meyers Saga). It dramatizes the life of Laura Secord from her childhood to her famous trek through the Canadian wilderness during the war of 1812.

Crook marries fact with fancy in her fictional account of a childhood acquaintance between Secord and Fitzgibbon, hooking young readers’ interest through the relationship as she weaves in accurate historical accounts of Shay’s Rebellion in Massachusetts, tensions between Loyalists and settlers in the Niagara region, Joseph Brant’s struggling Mohawk settlement, and of course, the war. History enthusiasts will appreciate the strong presence of James Fitzgibbon in this narrative, though most of his interactions with Secord are fictional. While Canadian folklore has given Laura Secord an honoured place, it has granted less attention to the wily guerilla commander who used her warning to capture an American force much larger than his own without any bloodshed. This novel gives a full account of Fitzgibbon’s contribution to the Battle of Beaver Dams, including quotations attributed to him by several historical sources listed at the end of the book.

Readers will find Acts of Courage useful as the only juvenile fiction title being released in honour of the bicentennial this spring. It makes history accessible and interesting, and while the unexpected chronological gaps between chapters can be disorienting at first, they happen consistently enough to preserve the narrative’s flow.

Acts of Courage presents Laura Secord as an appealing and believable character. Her lack of tolerance for foolish people is softened by her generosity; her unfulfilled longing for her girlhood friend Red (Fitzgibbon in disguise) is made more pure by her loyalty to her husband. Young readers will appreciate Secord’s humanity as she struggles with real emotions like resentment, fear and reluctance to make difficult decisions. Her ultimately courageous choices are inspiring and demonstrate why this woman has become one of Canada’s most beloved heroines.

— On the Danforth

“Given her knowledge of the subject, it’s not surprising that Crook’s attention to detail and setting is excellent, providing the reader with insight into the social and political situations of the time….the story provides an opportunity to see Secord’s resourcefulness, compassion, and independent spirit on full display.”

— Quill & Quire

CM Magazine Review

“Readers of all ages like to learn new things while they are being entertained and will appreciate Crook’s care and skill in painting a detailed, fascinating picture of Laura’s times.Acts of Courage, an accurate, accessible novel, is timely for bicentennial anniversary of the War of 1812″.

Click here to read full review.

— CM Magazine