Or Give Me Death was my first Ann Rinaldi, and I have several more of her books that I look forward to reading. I'm always a little skeptical about reading juvenile fiction -- historical or otherwise -- at this stage of my life, but this was an engaging read.
Rinaldi is a self-made writer, groomed for that position with years of reading and writing in her job as a newspaper columnist. Her interest in historical fiction was fed from the urging of her son and her subsequent participation in his various interests in historical reenactments. All combined together was fodder for her pursuit into juvenile / young adult historical fiction.
Or Give Me Death, a story of Patrick Henry's family was unknown to me, and I found myself thinking about it at times when I wasn't reading it. That's always a good sign that the book has grabbed me. Even though the story was engaging, it was sad, a sadness that hangs like a cloud of poison gas around a family trying to do the best they knew how during a challenging time in American history. Rinaldi explains in the afterward which parts are true and which parts she fictionalized for the sake of the story. This helped to clarify the history for me. I'm glad I read the afterward first and then again at the end of the book.
I have several other Rinaldi books to read, ones that I had stocked my classroom library with but came home with me when I did. After I finish them all, they will go onto a homeschooling sale board to move on to another's shelves, but Rinaldi's evident skills as a wordsmith will remain in high regard with me.