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October 30, 2005

Shadowbrook

I just finished reading Shadowbrook : A Novel of Love, War, and the Birth of America, the new novel by Beverly Swerling, author of the equally superb City of Dreams: A Novel of Nieuw Amsterdam and Early Manhattan.

Swerling's novels are a wonderful blend of well-researched history and gripping story selling. Set in familiar places, she does a great job of presenting interesting facts about our past (18th century surgical techniques, the role of slavery in the NY economy, the role of American Indians in the French and Indian wars, etc.) in the context of a compelling story.

I heartily recommend both her books. They are thoroughly engrossing, informative and well worth the time.

One interesting theme of contemporary interest appearing in Shadowbrook is the desire for martyrdom expressed by some of the Catholic priests and nuns in the story. It is helpful to be reminded that our jihadi pals do not have a monopoly on seekers of martyrdom in the service of their vision of god.

As an aside, I am curious about Swerling's background. Her author bio is exceedingly vague: "Beverly Swerling is a writer, consultant, and amateur historian. She lives in New York City with her husband." She has an interesting web site for her first book, which includes an interview, some background on how City of Dreams came to be, and some helpful ideas for would-be authors of historical fiction. But the site has little further information about her life (i.e. where did she grow up? go to school? what kind of consultant, etc.). Some enterprising magazine editor should commission a piece about her.

October 30, 2005 at 06:16 AM | Permalink

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