But then, they inadvertently overhear Lou's parents and grandmother Bertie talking about the possibility that their 175 year-old home, a large rambling, crumbling three story house that generations of Mayhews have lived in, might be torn down unless they could raise $25,000 to pay a lawyer to fight for the house in court. Crestfallen by what she overhears, Lou nevertheless decides to try and find a way to save the home she loves so much.
But just to play it safe, Lou pulls out the old Bible to take back the prayer request or something exciting to happen when a letter falls out addressed to Lou's namesake, Louise Mayhew, and dated March 12, 1864. Together with friends Benzer, Franklin and Patty, a plan is hatched to try and get the Mayhew house listed as an historic landmark, which would also get Franklin another Boy Scout merit badge to help in his quest to become an Eagle Scout.
Mrs. Hall, the town's librarian, adds incentive to their house quest by telling them about some rumored gold that had been stolen during the Civil War and, since, Lou's great-great-great-grandfather was the suspected thief, it is believed the gold was hidden somewhere in the Mayhew home. Lou begins to think if she could find the gold, it would really save her house. There's just one hitch - who is George Neely and why is he so interested in the Mayhew house, too?
Together, the friends set about unearthing all kinds of information about the Mayhew family and the role they really played in the Civil War, while unraveling an interesting mystery or two.
Since I love history and historical fiction is my favorite genre, I found myself enjoying Last in a Long Line of Rebels, Lisa Lewis Tyre's debut middle grade novel. She begins each chapter with a diary entry by Lou's namesake but it isn't until more than half way into the story that the readers learns their origin. Delaying that information only adds to the mystery surrounding the Mayhew house and the missing gold. In the end, it all gets explained and it is well worth the wait.
Lou, her family and her friends are all great characters, well developed and believable. The kids are spunky and clever, and really loyal to each other, which is always nice to see in a middle grade book (nemesis is away on a cruise).
There is a lot going on in the novel, besides the possible home demolition. There is the race issue surrounding Issac, a black teen who works part-time for Lou's dad and who is hoping for a scholarship to the University of Tennessee to play football. When Issac is cheated out of the scholarship by a bigoted coach, there are repercussion for him but wonderful community support for Issac.
It may seem odd that the story is set in 1999, but it means that there is limited Internet available for the kids to use and that they really must use their heads to find information in the resources available to them. It also means no cell phones and let's face it, how many times have you been reading a book or watching a movie set in the past and fleetingly wondered why don't the characters use their phones to call for help before you were jolted back to the reality of the fiction you are watching.
FYI - that deal Lou and Benzer made with God - yes, they keep their part of the bargain and they do go to church every Sunday.
All in all, Last in a Long Line of Rebels is sure to please readers from start to finish.
This book is recommended for readers age 9+
This book was sent to me by TLC Book Tours
You might also want to visit these stops on the Last in a Long Line of Rebels Blog Tour:
Monday, February 1st: Geo Librarian
Tuesday, February 2nd: Randomly Reading
Wednesday, February 3rd: All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
Thursday, February 4th: Life is Story
Monday, February 8th: Just Commonly
Wednesday, February 10th: Shooting Stars Mag
Thursday, February 11th: Musings by Maureen
Monday, February 15th: Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, February 16th: You Can Read Me Anything
Wednesday, February 17th: WV Stitcher
Thursday, February 18th: Tina Says…
Monday, February 22nd: The Things You Can Read
Wednesday, February 24th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, February 25th: Just One More Chapter
Monday, February 29th: Laura’s Reviews
Wednesday, March 2nd: Absurd Book Nerd
Thursday, March 3rd: FictionZeal
Monday, March 7th: View from the Birdhouse