Mystery author Gunning (Fire Water) moves to literary historical with this provocative tale of a whaling widow determined to forge a new life in colonial Cape Cod. When Lyddie Berry's husband drowns in 1761, her grief is compounded by the discovery that he's willed her the traditional widow's share—one-third use, but not ownership, of his estate. Lyddie's care, and the bulk of the estate, have been entrusted to their closest male relative, son-in-law Nathan Clarke, husband to their daughter Mehitable and a man used to ordering a household around. Lyddie's struggle to maintain a place in her radically changed home soon brings her into open conflict with an increasingly short-tempered Nathan and his children from two previous marriages. Gunning infuses the story with suspense and intrigue, as Lyddie's plight brings her into the orbit of local Indian Sam Cowett; community censure then brings her an ally in sympathetic lawyer Ebeneezer Freeman. Gunning resists easy generalizations and stereotypes while the story pulls in 18th-century law and Anglo-Indian relations, but the dull period dialogue, of which there is a great deal, reads awkwardly. Yet she makes Lyddie's struggle to remake her life credible and the world she inhabits complex. (Feb.)
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In a colonial whaling village, Lyddie Berry is very happy with her husband, Edward, the home they've built together over the years, and the children they've raised. When Edward is lost in a whaling disaster, Lyddie discovers her new status as a widow is not equal to her former status as a wife. All of the property Lyddie and Edward have acquired is now the responsibility of Lyddie's tight-fisted son-in-law. Although destitute and grieving, Lyddie finds righteous anger and strength, and challenges her son-in-law when he violates the terms of her husband's will. This defiance leads her to question other values held by the community about a woman's place, and even as she loses her reputation and home, she gains a deeper sense of self. Historical fiction isn't usually known for quick pacing, but readers will be swiftly turning the pages, eagerly cheering for the strong-willed widow. The crisp prose is flavored with the stinging salty atmosphere of a New England community witnessing one individual's war for independence. A good choice for book groups. Kaite Mediatore
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A great read infused with history, women's treatment and the treatment of Indians and slaves....all within a well constructed story. Read morePublished 4 days ago by andthings
Beautifully written....with humor, dread, romance and awe. I found myself swiftly turning pages, early cheering Lyddie a strong-willed widow to the very end. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Yeltrab
Found the historical information to be accurate. Admired her courage to fight for her freedom and rights as a person and a woman at a time when women had very few rights.Published 1 month ago by Sally Anne
I have purchased this book many times, just to turn around and give it away many times. This is one of my all time favorite books.Published 2 months ago by Debra H. Erickson
I loved this book and the heroine and her supporting players. I found it to be a very engaging book and could not put it down. I hope the author writes more like this. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kate Pyle
Thoroughly enjoyable, deeply personal exploration of the choices and confines faced by a whaling widow in 18th century New England. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
The Widow's War was certainly an eye opener as far as how woman were treated in the 1700's. Liddie was a very strong woman and in today's world would be highly successful. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Karen S. Dwyer