"January 2, 1761. Lyddie Berry heard the clatter of the geese and knew something was coming - Cousin Betsey, Grandson Nate, another wolf, or, knowing those fool birds, a good gust of wind - but when she heard the door snap hard against the clapboards she discounted all four of them; she whirled with the wind already in her skirts to see the Indian, Sam Cowett, just ducking beneath the lintel. He had the height and width to crowd a room, and the black eyes - what was it about a pair of eyes you couldn't see through? She took a step back and was sorry she'd done it, but he'd not have noticed; already he'd looked past her, calling into the empty doorway behind, "Blackfish in the bay!" The words had been known to clear every man out of a town meeting, so Lyddie wasn't surprised to hear the instant echo of Edward's boots or see the great sweep of arm that took up his coat and cap along with his breakfast. The bread went to pocket and the beer to mouth; he set back the mug and smiled at her; never mind it was a smile full of whales, not wife - she answered it, or would have if he'd stayed to see it - he was gone before her skirts had settled." ~ Sally Gunning, The Widow's War.
I knew by the end of this paragraph that I was going to love this book!
I love reading books recommended by other bloggers. I read The Widow's War by Sally Gunning because my friend Kathy at Four Miles North of Nowhere said it was her favourite book of 2016. That's good enough for me! I did thoroughly enjoy it, and now I'm recommending it to you! Set in 1761 in a small whaling village on Cape Cod, it's the story of Lydia Berry whose husband drowns while out on a whaling expedition in the very first chapter. Her difficulties over the next year, as a young widow, are quite a history lesson! Let's just say I'm grateful I live in this era and not back then!
Women of the eighteenth century had no rights and this doesn't sit well with Lyddie. As a widow Lyddie has no rights to her home or possessions therein, and is expected to live
under the thumb of her difficult son-in-law, her closest male relative. She is determined to challenge both the legal and social system, and risk the scorn of family, neighbours and church to make her own way. The trials of her day to day life serve only to make her stronger and more determined to be independent and fight for her freedom.
Gunning, a history buff who specializes in the eighteenth century, writes beautifully and provides a fascinating look at pre-Revolutionary life in New England, not such a pretty picture for women. If you enjoy historical fiction, you will want to read this book. There aren't many books I read a second time, but this may be one. Five stars from this bookworm. Thanks Kath, for the recommendation.
"To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting." ~ Edmund Burke