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A Thousand Stars Paperback – March 3, 2016
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About the Author
Sandra Fox Murphy lives in Round Rock, Texas, and is working on a second novel set in Maryland during the Civil War.
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The book is satisfyingly steeped in historical information, and Ms. Murphy has clearly researched her topic. Details about the discomforts and danger of sea voyages were gripping, as were her descriptions of the colonialists' grappling with challenges of establishing businesses and governing their new communities. Trading was amazingly prolific and sophisticated for the time, with goods ranging from ginseng to indigo freely traded across vast distances. Ms. Murphy also provides insight into social issues such as slavery and women's rights that clearly lay the foundation for discussions that continue to today.
Each chapter of the book is written from one character's perspective. This format allows the reader to see multiple descriptions of a singe event (and provides insight into what each character deems important), and it also reveals secrets known only to that character. More than once I was jolted when a character matter-of-factly revealed deceitful behavior or unexpected information. Excellent story-telling strategy!
Finally, a comment about food: Regardless of what has been written about some colonists' poverty of diet, it's clear from this book that some people ate extremely well. It was an gustatory pleasure to read about quail in succulent sauce, steamed brown bread, cobblers with all types of fresh berries, wild turkey and roasted pork, and, of course, rich Jamaican coffee at any time of day or night. In fact, coffee was described so lovingly that it made me wonder if the author has a special place in her heart for this beverage!
Many thanks to Ms. Murphy for bringing us such an engaging and memorable story. Be sure to start reading this book when you have the luxury of time. You won't want to put it down.