Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Review: The Rebellion of Jane Clarke by Sally Gunning
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Pages: 304 pgs
Genre: Historical Fiction/American
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazon, Powell's, Indiebound
Summary from publisher:
Jane Clarke leads a simple yet rich life in the small village of Satucket on Cape Cod. The vibrant scent of the ocean breeze, the stark beauty of the dunes, the stillness of the millpond are among the daily joys she treasures. Her days are full attending to her father's needs, minding her younger siblings, working with the local midwife. But at twenty-two, Jane knows things will change. Someday, perhaps soon, she will be expected to move out of her father's home and start a household of her own.
Yet some things—including the bitter feud between her father and a fellow miller named Winslow—appear likely to remain the same. When the dispute erupts into a shocking act of violence, Jane's lifelong trust in her father is shaken. Adding to her unease is Phinnie Paine, the young man Jane's father has picked out as son-in-law as well as business partner. When Jane defies her father and refuses to accept Phinnie's marriage proposal, she is sent away to Boston to make her living as she can.
Arriving in this strange, bustling city awash with red coats and rebellious fervor, Jane plunges into new conflicts and carries with her old ones she'd hoped to leave behind. Father against daughter, Clarke against Winslow, loyalist against rebel, command against free will—the battles are complicated when her growing attachment to her frail aunt, her friendship with the bookseller Henry Knox, and the unexpected kindness of the British soldiers pit her against the townspeople who taunt them and her own beloved brother, Nate, a law clerk working for John Adams.
But when Jane witnesses British soldiers killing five colonists on a cold March evening in 1770, an event now dubbed "the Boston Massacre," she must question seeming truths and face one of the most difficult choices of her life, alone except for the two people who continue to stand by her—her grandparents Lyddie and Eben Freeman.
Grippingly rendered, filled with some of the lesser known but most influential figures of America's struggle for independence—John and Samuel Adams, Henry Knox, James Otis—The Rebellion of Jane Clarke is a compelling story of one woman's struggle to find her own place and leave her own mark on a new country as it is born.
In the midst of my weekend from Hades, I picked up this book. I don’t know whether anyone else picks up historical fictions when they are feeling ill but I do and they definitely serve to distract.
I did have some trouble getting into this book initially. Jane was a bit of a difficult character for me to identify with. She was content to stew in her ignorance and that is something I just cannot understand. But as the book went on and Jane became more aware of the important events going on around her, I began to like her more and became more engaged in the book. She was independent, intelligent and borderline fearless. I loved her a little more with each passing page and, with that, I started liking the book more.
This one sort of reminded me of a book I was forced to read in high school, Johnny Tremain. I hated that one but loved The Rebellion of Jane Clarke. As with most historical fiction novels, I depend on the historical details to keep me interested and this one does not disappoint. Gunning recreates a pre-Revolutionary America with skill. This is not a time period I am very interested in (I know…I know…weird) but she definitely managed to get me interested.
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.