A fascinating neutral novel set during the American revolution - "The Turncoat's widow" by Mally Becker

As a non-American I often wondered what the American revolution meant for a "common" colonist. Many were British or of British decent and the slogan "No taxation without representation" what we learned in Holland in school that was the spark that set off the war seemed for a grown up me a bit far fetched for the random Tom, DIck and Harry who had no seat in Parliament anyway.

However many American historical novels go for a full patriotic blast. But there were loyalists. Canada stayed British. Native Americans were often pro British as the Americans were not so nice and freedom loving to them. So how would it have been for a random person living in the colonies?

This book is about exactly those..

New York being in the hand of the British but New Jersey in the hands of Washington's army Becca is just a young widow of impoverished  middle class who does not give a toss who is in charge Washington or the British. But when words get out her husband was a British spy who turned on his master willing to sell British spies on Washington's staff  but she ratted him out (she did not) she is almost run out of town. Her only way out is given by Washington who promises to let her keep her farm (and he also promises to pay a former prisoner to aid her) if she finds that list with the spies.

Becca at a certain moment says she realises that the people living in the colonies are indeed not British. I think she regards them as people less focussed on a glorious pasts and more flexible. I think the author means that there were more opportunities on the American side.

After finishing the book I found out the author works on the historical site where the novel is set.

The mystery part of the novel is well done. The love interest is an undercurrent that is very believable and the historical background is fascinating. For instance that people in their thirties were considered middle aged. That Washington at age 48 was considered old and that he was very tall but had a high voice (like my good friend M I immediately thought). It is also interesting to read that people had expected that war to be over a lot sooner too. Are they not always?  And that the British had burned Manhattan and not rebuild it and the prison ships sounded very cruel too. I always wondered why the British who were winning for a long time lost. Lost the popular vote?

 

 

 

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