THE REBELLION OF JANE CLARKE
by Sally Gunning
Harper Paperbacks (Reprint April 26, 2011)
Book Description from Harper Collins
"On the eve of the Revolutionary War, a young woman is caught between tradition and independence, family and conscience, loyalty and love, in this spellbinding novel from the author of The Widow's War and Bound
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."~Harper Collins
Anyone who has read The Widow’s War and Bound will be immediately drawn into the story of Jane Clarke. Gunning once again presents a strong women in a historical fiction setting whose beliefs and actions run contrary to the accepted norms of the time period and culture. Jane is a recalcitrant daughter, strong willed and unable to submit to the future married life her father has planned for her. As a consequence she is banished from the comfort and security of her home in Satucket, Cape Cod. Jane travels to Boston to live with her aunt. She is determined to maintain her independence and form a life based on her convictions, at all costs.
Sally Gunning weaves a quick moving story that is entertaining as it meanders among the lives of famous statesmen of the day. Jane Clarke becomes a witness to The Boston Massacre and replays the events over and over to try and lift the clouds of doubt. When Jane is called to testify at the trial of the accused, she is faced with her own trial. The author puts her character to the test as she is faced with a difficult and ethical decision. The Rebellion of Jane Clarke becomes her internal struggle of right and wrong as much as her outward struggle for independence. Without detailing too much of the story, no spoilers here....what ensues is a highly visible political debate with passionate opinions on either side of the trial bench.
Sally Gunning seeks out interesting snippets of history and puts together a well blended cast to produce an enhanced drama that will engage readers of historical fiction. Her author notes add clarity to the historical events in her book. The Rebellion of Jane Clarke offers an ethics lesson that is timeless with relevance today. The author’s image and vision of Jane, an obstreperous heroine is memorable and no doubt modern women will cheer her strong will.
© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2008-2011].