Sunday, June 29, 2014

2014 book 147

Katy Simpson Smith's A Story of Land and Sea
Katy Simpson Smith did a Ph.D. in History at UNC, and it shows. Which is meant to be a compliment--she really makes 1700s North Carolina come alive. The story is primarily set in Beaufort (primarily known to me as the home of the Duke Marine Lab, haha), and starts with a young girl, whose mother died in childbirth, being raised fairly unconventionally by her father (a former pirate!). Then we flash back to her mother's youth, and this section was a lot slower for me, but the third section brought everything home, especially the parts told from the perspective of Moll the slave. Smith has a deft touch on the horrors of slavery and the hardship of being a woman in that period, even though her main protagonists are a couple of sad white dudes. Anyway, it's a solid debut, and historical fiction fans and NC denizens will probably be into it. B+.

A review copy was provided by the publisher. This book will be released in August.

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