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The Widow's War: A Novel Paperback – January 30, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
It was such an in-depth study of characters as well as carefully researched historical information of the year 1761. When Lyddie's whaling husband is lost at sea, she faces total loss of power. With the male heirs, (even through marriage, not necessarily through blood) to be the controllers of the estate, times were not good for women. Faced with her loss of husband, as well as status, and economic freedom, she refuses to live within the constraints of her village. She becomes a nurse and an entrepeneur, making cheeses, selling eggs, and starting the second chapter of her life. She becomes estranged from her only child, who has married the keeper of the family home. Liddie refuses to sign over her third share, and dislikes moving into the dower room of her daughter's home. When she returns to her home, and forges a relationship with her neighbors who happento be Indians, the plot develops. The Indian, Mr. Cowett, who failed to pull her husband from the sea,has a crucial role in her life. The role of the Puritanical church is also integral to the story.
I hated to have the book end, and as I read out here on the foggy days and nights of the Cape, I MADE myself only read a few chapters at one sitting. By finishing the book, I would end the story. REMARKABLE NOVEL.
I felt such compassion and extreme admiration for Lyddie. She was such a strong and likable person. It was easy to step into her and go through each emotion and hardship, along with the bits of happiness. This story also allows one to catch a glimpse of life in the mid-1700's - especially from a woman's perspective. How thankful it made me to be a woman of today's society, rather than one from that time period, where a woman was more or less viewed as a possession, of sorts, who lived through and for a man, rather than for herself.
The Widow's War - so appropriately titled - is a delectable piece of literary dessert, meant to be savored and cherished from page to page. It is sure to become a classic and is one that I will highly recommend to family, friends and book groups. This story is a definite not to be missed read!
The story opens with her husband called to get to his boat for there are whales in the Massachusetts Bay. The weather is strong and his boat capsizes. He is lost. Lyddie's one surviving child had married a twice-widowered man whom Lyddie does not particularly like. Nathan Clarke is an officious, self-important man who expects his will to be done, no questions asked. When Lyddie, as Edward's "relict." is left dependent on Nathan under her husband's will, she chafes and, ultimately, rebels.
The author clearly has done exhaustive research because the reader gets such a full understanding of Satucket Village, its social strictures and the hardship of living in those days. But this is more than a history lesson -- it is a terrific story. The writing is crisp and beautifully descriptive. One feels as though one has suffered through the long, cold, damp winter on the Cape with Lyddie. As a widow, she has no authority to live on her own, but as a capable, intelligent woman, she cannot abide being dependent on others. After all, she ran her household for months at a time when Edward was away on his whaling trips. She was her own manager then. What really changed? And now she must sit as a dowager in a back room of her daughter's home and become an old woman at the age of 39? Intolerable!
The average woman of this time and place made virtually everything she needed from candles, to cheese, to linen, to beer. Lyddie was an expert at survival. Her only "misfortune" was to have had a strong spirit and a quick mind - not qualities appreciated in women of her day. But her story will be appreciated by all who take the time to read it.