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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The Rebellion of Jane Clarke: A Novel » User review

"What could Jane claim to be, as she twisted in the face of every wind that blew?"

  • Sep 1, 2010
Rating:
+4
Gunning captures the rebellious and chaotic days prior to the Boston Massacre and the American Revolution, Boston seething with political activism against British occupation, the battle lines between loyalist and rebel clearly drawn. Growing up on Satucket, Jane Clarke, twenty-two, navigates a bucolic world, where the most disturbing event is her father's chronic legal disagreements with a neighbor. While her father blusters about his loyalist beliefs, as the eldest, Jane seeks his approval, although she balks at the recently sanctioned engagement to Phinnie Paine. Refusing to tolerate Jane's flaunting of his plans, her father sends her to care for an elderly relative in Boston, to be recalled to Satucket only with his permission. Jane arrives in Boston unprepared for the political drama of citizens raging against the unfair demands of the English Crown. And while Aunt Gill is fragile and ailing, her household unfriendly, it is in Jane's nature to be generous and affectionate. Soon enough, in search of like-minded acquaintances, Jane experiences the dangers of the streets and the enmity between citizens and soldiers.

Conflict all around her, Jane is a witness to history in the making, shocked by the shouting and violence on behalf of a cause. More temperate in her judgments, Jane is tested in this new environment, both in a relationship with a potential suitor and the activities of notables such as Samuel and John Adams, James Otis and Henry Knox. Soon enough, Jane is thrust into controversy during the Boston Massacre. And as in her other novels, Gunning's protagonist is of a piece with unfolding Revolutionary history, challenged by circumstances and her own beliefs, the adversarial relationship with her father, a shocking betrayal, her expectations of a life partner and her appreciation for the direction of the country. Filled with historical detail, from the quiet of Satucket to the rowdy streets of Boston, men join together in common cause as a young woman determines the course of her future, another compelling tale of a country on the verge of independence. Luan Gaines/2010.

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About the reviewer
Luan Gaines ()
Ranked #86
An artist/writer, I have traveled the world, walked on the moon and learned the complicated language of humanity, the enormity of the universe... all through the written word. My first passport was a … more
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Starred Review. Gunning's blazing third historical (afterBound) takes readers into the heart of Revolutionary War–era Boston, where young Jane Clarke has been sent to care for her great-aunt Gill after refusing to marry the man her loyalist father has chosen for her. Not long after settling into her aunt's house near the British Custom House, Jane is thrust into the milieu of violence and intrigue that eventually leads to a declaration of independence by the American colonists. She befriends the bookseller Henry Knox and meets John Adams, who employs her brother as a clerk. As tensions mount, Jane watches the men around her grow more aggressive in their aversion to British rule, and less concerned with truth. When she is caught up in the Boston Massacre, she must come to terms with the importance of honesty over personal and political passions. There's a history textbook's worth of well-done cameos, but it's Gunning's fluid writing and attention to the larger issues of human nature that really make this move. Good historical fiction offers new perspectives on old stories. This book succeeds handily at the task.(June)
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Details

ISBN-10: 0061782149
ISBN-13: 978-0061782145
Author: Sally Gunning
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
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