The Rebellion of Jane Clarke
By Sally Gunning
(William Morrow, Hardcover, 9780061782145, 288pp.)
Publication Date: June 2010
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On the eve of the Revolutionary War, a young woman is caught between tradition and independence, family and conscience, loyalty and love, in this spellbinding novel from the author of The Widow's War and Bound
Jane Clarke leads a simple yet rich life in the small village of Satucket on Cape Cod. The vibrant scent of the ocean breeze, the stark beauty of the dunes, the stillness of the millpond are among the daily joys she treasures. Her days are full attending to her father's needs, minding her younger siblings, working with the local midwife. But at twenty-two, Jane knows things will change. Someday, perhaps soon, she will be expected to move out of her father's home and start a household of her own.
Yet some thingsincluding the bitter feud between her father and a fellow miller named Winslowappear likely to remain the same. When the dispute erupts into a shocking act of violence, Jane's lifelong trust in her father is shaken. Adding to her unease is Phinnie Paine, the young man Jane's father has picked out as son-in-law as well as business partner. When Jane defies her father and refuses to accept Phinnie's marriage proposal, she is sent away to Boston to make her living as she can.
Arriving in this strange, bustling city awash with red coats and rebellious fervor, Jane plunges into new conflicts and carries with her old ones she'd hoped to leave behind. Father against daughter, Clarke against Winslow, loyalist against rebel, command against free willthe battles are complicated when her growing attachment to her frail aunt, her friendship with the bookseller Henry Knox, and the unexpected kindness of the British soldiers pit her against the townspeople who taunt them and her own beloved brother, Nate, a law clerk working for John Adams.
But when Jane witnesses British soldiers killing five colonists on a cold March evening in 1770, an event now dubbed "the Boston Massacre," she must question seeming truths and face one of the most difficult choices of her life, alone except for the two people who continue to stand by herher grandparents Lyddie and Eben Freeman.
Grippingly rendered, filled with some of the lesser known but most influential figures of America's struggle for independenceJohn and Samuel Adams, Henry Knox, James OtisThe Rebellion of Jane Clarke is a compelling story of one woman's struggle to find her own place and leave her own mark on a new country as it is born.
Sally Gunning lives on Cape Cod with her husband.
- At the beginning of The Rebellion of Jane Clarke, Jane appears to share her father's political view. Discuss how this changes or remains the same throughout the novel.
“Gunning had chosen a turbulent and fascinating period in American history…that suggests interesting philosophical arguments….Jane Clarke [is] a sensitive heroine, insightful enough to tussle with these difficulties.”
-Washington Post Book World on THE REBELLION OF JANE CLARKE
“Sally Gunning is equally adept at depicting a city on the brink of rebellion, a young woman’s coming of age, and the beautiful Cape Cod landscape.”
-Historical Novels Review on THE REBELLION OF JANE CLARKE
“Nobody brings the Cape’s history alive like Sally Gunning.”
-Cape Codder on THE REBELLION OF JANE CLARKE
“[B]lazing...Gunning’s fluid writing and attention to the larger issues of human nature...really make this move. Good historical fiction offers new perspectives on old stories. This book succeeds handily at the task.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review) on THE REBELLION OF JANE CLARKE
“This well-researched and lively novel captures the mood of those turbulent [pre-revolutionary] times.”
-Library Journal on THE REBELLION OF JANE CLARKE
“Unlike many historical novelists, Gunning makes the long-ago feel like this very day. Elegantly, she tells bitter truths -- that dignity and grace and even abiding love can flourish where it seems nothing can grow.”
-Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean and Still Summer
“Gunning’s exquisite use of language and imaginative scene-setting in times past will keep readers riveted . . . Anyone who loves history, storytelling, and Cape Cod will want to settle in for a long weekend of pleasurable escape.”
-Cape Cod Life on BOUND
“Gripping, romantic, historically sound, and completely satisfying...I’ll be surprised if I read a better historical novel this year.”
-Historical Novels Review (The Historical Novel Society); "Editor's Choice"
“A gifted storyteller . . . has given us a deeply affecting tale of a woman caught between the irresistible currents of her inner truth and the equally powerful strictures of her times.”
-Anne LeClaire, author of The Law of Bound Hearts and Entering Normal
“Provocative . . . Gunning infuses the story with suspense and intrigue [and] resists easy generalizations and stereotypes.”
“[A] colonial page-turner...horrifying, spellbinding.”
“Readers will be swiftly turning the pages, eagerly cheering for the strong-willed widow.”
“Quietly compelling . . . . Gunning paints the ethical, emotional, and financial dilemmas of her refreshingly adult characters in surprisingly lively shades of gray.”
“A wonderful writer…Gunning’s attention to historical detail and riveting storytelling make for a compelling and intelligent read. ”
-The Cape Cod Times on THE REBELLION OF JANE CLARKE
“Historical fiction at its best.”
-Library Journal (starred review)
“Heartrending ... Gunning’s vibrant portrayal of Lyddie’s journey shows that the pursuit of happiness is not for the faint of heart.”
“The descriptions are vivid; the characters have depth and a little mystery; and the history is accurate, from well-known events to daily living...[a] masterpiece of historical ficition.”
-The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, MA) on THE REBELLION OF JANE CLARKE
“Gunning fills her novel with believable and complex characters . . . best of all she’s created an intriguing and admirable witness to history in Jane Clarke. ”
-BookPage.com on THE REBELLION OF JANE CLARKE