Top positive review
45 people found this helpful
A SWEEPING SAGA OF LATE 18TH CENTURY UPSTATE NEW YORK...
on 1 November 2003
This novel is the first in a series of three such novels published to date. It is a riveting, page-turning work of well-written historical fiction. It is a story woven from the gossamer threads of history and infused with the creativity of this author, so as to produce an utterly spellbinding and ambitious, sweeping epic novel. This is a novel that will appeal to those who love rousing historical fiction that carries with it a sense of teeming and timeless adventure.
Those readers who have enjoyed the enormously popular
"Outlander" series of novels by author Diana Gabaldon will especially enjoy this book. It should be noted that Diana Gabaldon herself has warmly endorsed this book. Moreover, that its author is herself a fan of Ms. Gabaldon, there can be little doubt, as the two main characters in Ms. Gabaldon's best selling "Outlander" series make a brief appearance nearly midway through this book. Moreover, the author also incorporates James Fennimore Cooper's character "Hawkeye" from his book, "The Last of the Mohicans", adding to the intriguing pastiche of characters, historical, literary, and imaginative, who pepper this book.
The book is simple in its premise. An independent and outspoken, intelligent Englishwoman in her twenties, Elizabeth Middleton, leaves England with her brother Julian, to join their father, Judge Alfred Middleton, in the mountains of upstate New York, northwest of Albany. There, she meets Hawkeye's son, handsome backwoods man Nathaniel Bonner, a man who straddles two worlds, that of the white man and that of the native American, and finds herself falling head-over-heels in love with him.
Despite her father's attempts to marry her off to a wealthy landowner and the village doctor, Richard Todd, she gravitates towards Nathaniel in defiance of her father, who has his own reasons for wanting to marry her off to Dr. Todd. The good doctor also has his own secret agenda in this matter, a secret that he keeps well hidden until thwarted of his desire. To further complicate matters, Elizabeth sets herself up as a school teacher for all the children of the village in which she lives, black, white, and native American, but finds herself locked in conflict with those who believe that education is only for a select group.
What happens to Elizabeth and Nathaniel, as well as to their respective families, is positively gripping, given the adventures into which they are thrust. The author gives the reader a tantalizing glimpse into what life may have been like in upstate New York during that time period, with all its hardships, deprivations, and political and social turmoil, as well as the constantly shifting conflicts and alliances between the white settlers and the Mohawk nation.
Descriptively rich and densely plotted, filled with historical personages of the time and well-known historical events, this ambitious and compelling novel will have the reader compulsively turning the pages until the very end. It is simply a wonderfully told and enthralling tale that any discerning lover of historical fiction will enjoy. Bravo!