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I just visited Jamestown and was blown away at all the things I did not know or had poor conceptions about. This story coupled with what I learned from my visit there was a perfect match.
on occasion the discriptive rants were a bit excessive for my liking but they probably did a good job at conveying the spiritual nature.
tough times back then. so hard to imagine but this book does a good job at helping you do that.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful
Libbie Hawker has produced a wonderful story about a pivotal time in the history of the settlement of New England.I liked the structure,using the first person voice for each of the main characters,and using s different actors for the parts.I understand the book was written quickly and I think it reflects a refreshing freshness,without in any way detracting from the quality of the writing.Libbie says she would write a sequel in 2016-let's hope she does as I will be one of the first to read it.