A love affair tests a new nation's revolutionary ideals. In 1770s Boston, a prosperous merchant's daughter, Eliza Boylston, lives a charmed life - until war breaches the walls of the family estate and forces her to live in a world in which wealth can no longer protect her. As the chaos of the Revolutionary War tears her family apart, Eliza finds herself drawn to her uncle's slave, John Watkins. Their love leads to her exile in Braintree, Massachusetts, home to radicals John and Abigail Adams and Eliza's midwife sister-in-law, Lizzie Boylston. But even as the uprising takes hold, Eliza can't help but wonder whether a rebel victory will grant her and John the most basic of American rights.
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I had no intention of listening to "Our Own Country" all in one go (or as much as possible). I've pretty much been on a non-fiction kick for a really, really long time, so a novel just didn't seem like it'd do much for me. Plus, I have "The Midwife's Revolt" but haven't really managed to get around to listening to it, so strike two, right? And then there's the fact that this book seems to be a bit, NOT that there's anything wrong with it, but kind of, Chick Lit-ish (I like Chick Lit, just not in the mood currently). So how the hell did I manage to listen to Jodi Daynard's new book every chance I got, finishing it, asap? Well, excellent narration was key. Cristina Panfilio, while having rather a girlish voice, really comes through on accents and different intonations; she does a really decent job with men's voices too, nothing awful and gravelly. Jolly good job. And it really, really helps, to me, at least, that this historical fiction had enough history (kinda light, tho', but enough) thrown in, to keep things interesting. (Loved the references to small pox!) But I suppose what saves the day is that, while this could and is indeed sometimes predictable, there are enough things that happen that I just didn't see coming. And I haaate relationship dramas with long, drawn out love scenes; I much prefer characters showing their affection in actions rather than in steam. The ending is rather neat and pat, I would've preferred a bit more struggle, but there you go, that's what was chosen, and if you're into the sweet stuff, you won't be disappointed (I hope that wasn't a spoiler... it's all pretty tidy throughout the book). I honestly don't know how the book'll play out to non-Caucasians: White woman is ultra-friend to the slave classes, ultimately saves the day, where would we be without her strength? Still, I obviously found it to be totally engaging enough to rip me away from my beloved non-fiction for a couple of days...! Strong, strong, well-defined, fully fleshed-out women characters; some intricate plot twists and political intrigue; romance galore: what's not to love?