by Jane Kamensky & Jill Lepore
This book took me by surprise. At the Boston Bookfest last October, I had the privilege of hearing the two authors speak about their novel. From what they said, I was expecting a book about two people at the cusp of the American Revolution, and how the patriotism and rebellion affected their lives. Instead, I got two people at the cusp of the Revolution, and how slavery and a murder mystery and lots of sex affect their lives.
The novel was filled to the brim with excellent details and historical facts about Boston 10 years before the Revolution. It was great to see the difference between those who wanted to continue under the rule of King George and those who wanted to break away. And I loved the correlation between the colonists owning slaves, but at the same time complaining about being a slave of the king's because of all the taxes.
I enjoyed the style-- both characters wrote in their own voice with bits and pieces of the Boston Gazette littered in between. The characters were lovable, if not a bit melodramatic at times. Even Jameson would cry more often than I would think a man should cry, even a sensitive one. And he didn't wonder about Weston, when tears would just come out of nowhere? Maybe in the pre-Revolutionary period, people cried all the time...
Oh, but the sex! I don't consider myself a prude, I used to read romance novels all the time, but it got in the way of the story itself. Jamie and Fanny are supposed to be solving a murder and saving lives, and they're underneath a tarp in the painting room going at it like rabbits. I hope someday that I have such an all-consuming relationship, but when it gets in the way of the plot line, I don't need to read about it.
Overall it was a great novel. It emphasized the important events of the time period and did a good job of exploring the nuances of slavery, both black vs white and commoner vs royalty. Definitely pick it up next time you're at a bookstore, and you can skip over the sex parts. ;)