Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the chance to read this book prior to publication.
This is a companion novel to The Midwife’s Revolt. You do not really need to read it to be able to follow Our Own Country, but it would help to get the backstory to some of the characters and put a few things into perspective, but this book really does stand on its own very well. And truth be told, I did enjoy this book far more than the previous. I’m not sure if it was the style or the character focus this time, but I was definitely more engrossed in the story this time.
The book is told from the perspective of Eliza Boylston. Oldest daughter of a well-to-do Cambridge family. In the years leading up to the War of Independence, she lives the life of a spoiled little rich girl. Never having to lift a hand to do anything on her own and expected to do nothing but make a good marriage match. But she never feels totally comfortable in the world of her parents. She’s much more at home in the kitchen with Cassie, the cook for her family and as she grows older, she finds that she’s much more at home with the family slaves than she is with her own flesh and blood, especially after multiple tragedies take those she loves most away from her.
As Eliza grows older, she begins to see that her world is at odds with the woman that she is becoming. Gone is that brainless little girl who didn’t have a care in the world about where her food came from and how her father made his money. Her eyes have been opened not only by the Rebel cause, but by the unexpected love that she finds. A love that can lead to dire consequences.
The Braintree characters weren’t as fleshed out this time and I think this is the biggest reason that you really should read The Midwife’s Revolt first. While you are introduced to them again, it’s not as in-depth. You get to see Abigail Adams, John Adams, John Paul Jones and a number of other notable faces from the War of Independence. So many historically correct and accurate characters and events really do lend an air of authenticity to the story and made it very enjoyable for me.
I personally wish that it had been told in third person instead of first person, solely because it would have been interesting to see the events through some of the other characters in Eliza’s life. But I was really pleased to see how much she grew over the course of the book. I think that there were areas that the backstory could have been either eliminated completely or fleshed out more. There was so much packed into this book that it was easy to get a bit lost at times trying to weave all the threads together.
A strong historically accurate fiction novel. Interesting characters and pair of star-crossed lovers whose romance was well ahead of its time. Take a chance.