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Wealth of Virginia (New) (Paperback) (Barbara N. McLennan)
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Nominated for a literary award by the Library of Virginia for 2016, The Wealth of Virginia received the following review from Kirkus:
"McLennan’s historical novel depicts America at a tenuous stage in its early history, when wealth, violence and political unease were all starting to swell.
Sarah Harrison Blair is the sort of historical figure who demands fictional interpretation. Married to one of the founders of the College of William & Mary, the (as characterized in McLennan’s novel) loathsome James Blair, Sarah has the business acumen and independent streak to rival any of Colonial America’s male adventurers. She is neither shy with a pistol nor afraid to work alongside the laborers in her family’s tobacco fields, if that’s what will get the job done. (“Darlin’, welcome to Virginia justice,” she tells one man. “If you keep still, I won’t blow your head off.”)
The Colonial Virginia world in which Sarah operates needs people like her. It’s something of a free-for-all, with ineffectual governors coming and going, uncertainty about where to establish the colony’s capital (Williamsburg is being considered), and perpetual tensions and threats of fighting. Yet it’s also a place where democratic values are coalescing, a development made all the more evident in contrast to London, which Sarah and James visit. There, they encounter poverty and abuse all but directly caused by the old system. They also come across some truly rip-roar excitement, complete with duels and romance.
An informative rendering of pre-Revolutionary America, with an inspiring female protagonist."