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First Line: May 6, 1769. Jane Clarke stood in the sedge growth on the lip of the dune and looked out over the half-drained bay, the ribbons of sand rising up through the retreating water.
Jane Clarke is a daddy's girl, but recent events in the small village of Satucket on Cape Cod have made the teenager question her father's motives and integrity. When her father tells her to marry the man he has chosen for her, Jane rebels and travels to Boston to nurse her invalid Aunt Gill.
Aunt Gill lives near the British Custom House, and Jane finds herself in the heart of Boston's revolutionary fervor. She befriends bookseller Henry Knox, meets John Adams, and eventually finds herself in the middle of the Boston Massacre. As the situation grows more and more tense, Jane watches the men around her grow more aggressive in their hatred of British rule-- and less concerned with the truth. It's not long before she's forced to make a decision: which is more important, honesty or personal and political beliefs?
Although this is the third novel concerning inhabitants of the small village of Satucket on Cape Cod, it does not have to be read in order. I've been a fan of Sally Gunning since I read her novel The Widow's War, and now whenever I feel the need to read of Colonial America, I look to her. Gunning is supremely skilled at sharing loads of period detail without weighting the narrative down, and even though you're being steeped in knowledge, the author's writing is fluid and stays focused on her characters and the larger issues of human nature.
Jane was a character that I quickly came to like and to admire, and Gunning gives an entirely new perspective to familiar stories. If you enjoy well-written historical fiction with multi-faceted characters, you should definitely put Sally Gunning on your Must Read list.