The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew

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The winters of 1609 and 1610 were hard for the colonists at Jamestown. With little food and hostile Native Americans, there was every chance they would not survive. Survive they did, however, and their foothold helped to carve out the start of what would become the United States of America. There at the start was Temperance Flowerdew, who would become the wife of the first two governors of Virginia. She had a maid named Lily. Though both Temperance and Lily struggle to make it through that first winter, the bond between them, which is far greater than ordinary for mistress and servant, gives the two of them strength. As the title says, the story is brief, just over two hundred pages. While that does make this a quick read, I found myself wishing it were not quite so swift. It’s beautifully written, but it seems cramped at times, with interactions (particularly between Lily and a fiddler named James Owen) skipping ahead to where readers expect them to be rather than progressing naturally and offering chances to surprise the reader. Being short makes it no less powerful, and it was a delight to watch Temperance’s strength go from sheer bullheadedness to … Continue reading The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew

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