In 1607, three ships arrive on the coast of Virginia to establish Jamestown Colony. One girl's life - and the lives of her people - are changed forever. To Pocahontas and her people, the Tidewater is the rightful home of the Powhatan tribe. To England it is Virginia Territory, fertile with promise, rich with silver and gold. As Jamestown struggles to take root, John Smith knows that the only hope for survival lies with the Powhatan people. He knows, too, that they would rather see the English starve than yield their homeland to invaders. In the midst of this conflict, Pocahontas, the daughter of the great chief, forges an unlikely friendship with Smith. Their bond preserves a wary peace - but control can rest only in one nation's hands. When that peace is broken, Pocahontas must choose between power and servitude - between self and sacrifice - for the sake of her people and her land. Revised edition: This edition of Tidewater includes editorial revisions.
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This book was JUST OK for me. I will explain why. What irritated me may be exactly what you are looking for.
I am rating the written book, not the audiobook version. I detested the audiobook narration. There are three narrators - Scott Merriman, Angela Dawe and Luke Daniels. Each of these read separate chapters. The chapters switch between those seen from the female Native Americans and Pocahontas, the male Native Americans or the British settlers’ views. The three different narrators each took a different group. The setting is the Jamestown Colony in Virginia, the start date 1607. A six month sojourn in London is also covered. The story continues through Pocahontas' death. There is a "historical note" at the end which consists of words from the author, sources and finally information on what happens to the main characters after Pocahontas' death. The last is read by Angela Dawe. She has the largest portion of the narration. The voices further emphasize the cinematic tone of the lines and events. Many people enjoy such dramatization; I do not. Many want to feel they are at a movie. They like sentimentality and melodrama. I can do without both. In my view the words of the female narrator sounded at times cartoonish! Dawe's narration drove me nuts, but I am not letting this reduce my rating of the book. That I am keeping separate. Unfortunately what I disliked about the book was further exaggerated by the narration.
Now what did I think of the book? There is the writing, the lines, how things are described. Libbie Hawker does a marvelous in describing tribal traditions, customs, clothes, hairstyles, dances, rites, foods. I enjoyed tremendously her use of metaphors. She explains how things happened or looked or were experienced by comparing them to animals and scenery and fauna intrinsic to life there in the wild. To give you a feel, here are a few examples: -metallic like stars in water -like an osprey diving -chatted like a blackbird in a marsh -it was dark and shiny as a blackbird wing -like an eddy in the river These metaphors fit perfectly and thus the reader sees the Native American world as they themselves saw it and experienced it. This was cleverly done.
However, I disliked the dialogs and other than those metaphors the lines are ordinary, excessively action-filled, meant to excite or make you feel sentimental. Childish one minute adult the next. Quite simply, the writing on the whole was without nuance. No adverbs, nope not here! Let me add that at the end in the author's so-called "historical notes", Hawker goes on and on about her talent and speed. She wrote 160.000 words in 119 days.......but I am not impressed. I am really not interested in word counts. I don't value speed over quality. What hubris! She brags of her ability to write and self-publish a book without a high school education. Remember the lack of adverbs?! Well, I believe in education. There is a fundamental difference of opinion between the author and me.
I had another major problem. For the most part the author follows historical events....as they are known. For the most part she works within feasible possibilities, and I am fine with that. However the myth that Pocahontas saved John Smith's life in a dramatic scene is today considered just that, myth, not fact. She admits in the "historical notes" that she chose to stick to the myth even though today it is not considered to be true. I would have preferred that she had woven a story around the truth! On completing the book I was compelled to turn to Wiki to separate fact from fiction.
Concerning the division between fact and fiction - Pocahontas was pubescent when the story unfolds. An alternative explanation for her behavior, rather than Disney's famed love story, is offered by the author. I buy this, except that it is exaggerated. Maybe Pocahontas was quite simply a curious, intelligent child that was drawn in by the events rather than trying to gain influence, recognition and power, which she totally lacked due to her common origin. In her tribe, regardless of the fact that her father was the most powerful chief, she had no status since it was matriarchal in structure.
Well, those were the problems I have had with this novel. Now if you love exciting, cinematic, melodramatic writing based mostly on fact, you may just love this.