Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Wealth of Jamestown Paperback – December 1, 2013
Customers who bought this item also bought
Great book, enjoyed reading about Jamestown. I did not know much about Jamestown, and was happy to receive this book as part of the first reads books. I loved how the author included historical figures from Jamestown in the novel, and also how she included a genealogy in the back of the book about them. After reading this book I want to learn more about Jamestown, and it's founding members. I shall be recommending this book to my friends and family that love history.
From the Author
The Wealth of Jamestown is a work of fiction, using names of persons and dates of events occurring in Jamestown, Virginia in the period 1685-1700. Americans aren't taught their early history, and many people coming to Jamestown are amazed to learn that something actually happened between Pocahontas in 1615 and George Washington in 1776. That's more than a hundred and fifty years and a good chunk of American history.
The book is an attempt to provide some understanding of the period, the time of the founding fathers' great grandparents, including the grandmothers. It derives from a work put together by the author over several years of research while serving as a docent in the gallery at Jamestown Settlement. After several years answering questions from visitors and responding to their comments, the author had prepared an annotated "Docent's Guide" of more than a hundred pages.
Most visitors feel comfortable and familiar with Jamestown. Children instinctively know there was more to the Indians than Pocahontas. The idea of a representative assembly to debate legislation separate from an executive officer was well established by 1685. Distrust of governors sent from abroad, as well as of clergymen sent by a distant church was already widespread.
Certain facts can be corroborated: Edmund Andros and Francis Nicholson served as Governor and Lieutenant Governor during the period, and James Blair resurrected a college charter in 1693. Buildings were erected and burned down as described, and Blair presented complaints against Andros to an ecclesiastical court in London. Relatively few public documents survive as Jamestown's state house burned several times.
Beyond that, the story comes out of the context of the time.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
She takes the real settlers and weaves them into an interesting story with her imagined dialogue. The women in Jamestown had quite a bit of business savvy responsibility and independence in the new country. Their husbands were often leaving the country or off on business so the women made business deals, kept the plantations running, owned ships and participated in trade. In addition, they used their connections to influence political decisions.
As the book starts the number of characters is a bit overwhelming but as it progresses the reader is drawn into the action and becomes more invested in the characters. This book introduces us to familiar family names that are still recognized in American politics today.
The new settlers had many hardships and when the mother countries went to war, the colonies suffered. It lays the groundwork for the reasons America was formed.
The first few chapters, with a plethora of characters and actions unfamiliar to modern life, feel dense and at times confusing. However, the reader is rewarded with a charming love story and a fascinating historical overview. One realizes that with the appalling loss of life through disease, birthing, dueling and skirmishes with Indians encouraged by the French, the survivors, both men and women, were strong and resourceful. Many plantations were overseen by the women in the families because of the death or temporary absence of the men. McLennan especially brings to life James Blair, villain, husband of Sarah and clergyman with political connections. The reader will dislike him as much as his contemporaries disliked his rigidity and single-mindedness. Although Jamestown was eventually deserted, many of the characters enmeshed within the story were the antecedents of the founders of the United States. The Wealth of Jamestown painlessly presents an early and difficult time in American history.
by Judith Helburn
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
by Sharon Dillon, April 30, 2014
The Wealth of Jamestown is tobacco and the streets are paved with gold.
Tobacco was the medium of exchange in the late 1600s. Some planters became so focused on their money crop that they planted tobacco in the dirt streets and roads. With no way to print money and no banks, the colonists used tobacco notes to transact business. So, the streets were literally paved with gold.
McLennan, a docent at Jamestown Settlement, a living history museum located less than one mile from the actual landing site in 1607*, uses historic facts as the basis of her story. Her joy in explaining the origins of our country to thousands of annual visitors, led her to research more details about the major players and events from 1607 to the early 1700s. This book is factual and humorous as McLennan explores human interactions in the growing colony.
By the late 1600s the colony had spread from Jamestown and the capitol moved to Williamsburg and Jamestown remained the shipping center. By this time the colonists considered themselves Virginians. England was where they did business. What happened there had little or no impact on Virginia. Certain natural leaders served in the General Assembly* while becoming wealthy from their golden crop. Benjamin Harrison was one such influential colonist.**
This story revolves around the love triangle between Sarah Harrison, William Roscoe, a business man and sheriff, and the Reverend James Blair, a preacher in the Church of England. Sarah and William were engaged to be married. However, Mr. Harrison determined that her marriage to James would offer the Harrisons more power. Being an obedient daughter, Sarah married the minister. Everyone knew that James did not find women attractive and that Sarah and William were still seeing each other.
Sarah was well-read and an astute business woman who managed the Blair household, properties, and business dealings. James, having no head for business, spent his time as minister of Williamsburg’s Church of England, attempting to consolidate his power and build a college. After lengthy negotiations in London, Blair returned to Williamsburg with a charter to build a college. He managed to draw a salary as president of the college that had not yet been built. This alienated his few remaining supporters. Yet, he persisted and eventually the College of William and Mary was constructed.
All of these circumstances lead to unusual situations as Virginia grows and do business with other colonies.
The Wealth of Jamestown is the first of a three-book series That is fun to read and meets Virginia’s Standards of Learning. The next two books continue to follow the Blairs and Harrisons as they forge business relationships and meet with unsavory characters.
*That site soon became the primary center of commerce in Virginia. Jamestown had an elected General Assembly in 1619, a full year before the Pilgrims sailed from England. Historic Jamestowne is a national park and the site of major archeology discoveries.
**Two of his descendants became presidents of the United States, Benjamin Harrison V and William Henry Harrison.
Most recent customer reviews
by Sharon Dillon, April 30, 2014
The Wealth of Jamestown is tobacco and the streets are paved with...Read more
One word: excellent!
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book of historical fiction before.Read more