From Publishers Weekly
This engrossing historical novel, Beahrs's debut, dramatizes the experience of America's first English settlers through the eyes of a fierce young heroine who confronts both a savage new landscape and the dogmatic order of her congregation. Melode, a 17-year-old orphan, works as a servant among the Saints, a community of religious separatists in 17th-century England better known today as the Pilgrims. She falls in love with Adam Stradling, the minister's son, and follows him to America, hoping to escape her life of servitude. Once they're reunited on the westward-bound ship, however, an increasingly religious Adam rejects her. Mel takes futile revenge by seducing another man, but they are discovered and cast off the ship to fend for themselves in the wilds of Newfoundland. Along with her daughter, Mary, the result of her unfortunate dalliance, Melode is eventually rescued. She sails to Plymouth Colony, where she struggles with the community strictures, the shame of her past and the uncertainty of her future. Beahrs serves up sumptuous description and gracefully evokes the period's language with anthropological precision in this moving and enlightening revisitation of America's colonial history. (Oct.)
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About the Author
Andrew Beahrs lives and writes in Berkeley with his wife and son. Strange Saint is his first novel.