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Jamestown or Roanoke Colonies

Historical Fiction

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Oct 13, 2008, 11:09am Top

I'm interested in books about either the Jamestown or Roanoke colonies. I see very few historical fiction novels about Jamestown, and a lot of it seems to focus on John Smith and Pocahontas. I don't mind some stuff about them, but I'm more interested in ordinary colonists, their struggles, and how they lived their day to day lives.

As for the Roanoke colony, I haven't seen any books about it. My guess is that the real thing is such a mystery that people haven't bothered to write fiction about it. Any suggestions about either subject are appreciated, thanks!

Oct 14, 2008, 8:51am Top

yes! I am interested in this period as well!
I will keep my eye on this discussion.

Oct 14, 2008, 9:30am Top

"To Have and to Hold" by Mary Johnston takes place in colonial Jamestown (incorrect touchstone comes up for title). It's historical romance/adventure, but I remember the beginning in particular having some interesting historical detail (women coming from England to find husbands since there was a shortage of women in the colony, for example). It's worth a try if you don't mind a little romance and adventure, and if you google for it, you can find the etext online.

Oct 14, 2008, 11:36am Top

I read Roanoke: the lost colony (Keepers of the Ring, #1) by Angela Elwell Hunt a number of years ago. It's a Christian fiction book, but pretty good as I recall.

Oct 14, 2008, 11:44am Top

Both of them sound good to me, thanks!

Oct 14, 2008, 6:33pm Top

Here's a Young Adult (YA) title: The Serpent Never Sleeps by Scott O'Dell. It's set a few years after the Jamestown settlement

Oct 14, 2008, 8:14pm Top

I haven't read it, but Blood on the River is set in the Jamestown colony; it's a YA historical novel about Samuel Collier, John Smith's page. My source says that while Smith and Pocahontas are in it, the main focus is the colony. She (the source) is using it in her 7th grade American history class and getting good reviews from her students, for what it's worth.

Oct 14, 2008, 8:27pm Top

Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I'll have to check some of these out.

Edited: Oct 24, 2008, 10:54am Top

Inglis Fletcher has a series (it's an old series, she died in 1969) called the "Carolina Chronicles," following families from England to America, and I believe one of the first books in the series is titled Roanoke Hundred. I haven't read them but I own like practically all of them - a gift from my grandmother. Maybe one day I will sit down and read...

Oct 21, 2008, 9:45pm Top

I recently bought The Rising Shore - Roanoke but haven't read it yet. There are some good reviews though.

Oct 22, 2008, 9:18am Top

I am getting Roanoke: the lost colony (Keepers of the Ring, #1) from paperbackswap.com

I looked up The Rising Shore - Roanoke on Amazon and you are right it does have good ratings. I will look into getting that one too.

Oct 30, 2008, 7:59pm Top

Both Jamestown and Roanoke historical fiction are rare. I wrote a short story for Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine last November, called "Dead of Winter," which is set in 1609 Jamestown. I also have an unpublished novel and a half set in the same period, which now languish in a drawer, because one too many agents and editors said no one was interested. (You can find a copy of the story at http://www.fictionwise.com/eBooks/eBook51914.htm?cache .) You might be interested in Susan Donnell's novel "Pocahontas" (Berkeley, 1991) and poet Stephen Vincent Benet's epic poem, "Western Star" (out of print). Check out Amazon.

This is a fascinating place and time. Even John Smith is much more interesting than the history textbooks claim. The Jamestown archeological site is also well worth a visit. Their online site at APVA.org is great.

Oct 30, 2008, 9:21pm Top

To have and to hold was very popular. it was made into a movie.
Ingles Fletcher was a good writer. I still remember her books, I enjoyed her family saga about the settling of the Carolinas.

Nov 5, 2008, 9:07pm Top

check out the new toni morrison. it takes place in colonial virginia, i'm not sure which part tho.

Edited: Nov 6, 2008, 8:44am Top

Just got Roanoke: the lost colony (Keepers of the Ring, #1) can't wait to start it!

I will look up that Toni Morrison book, thanks.

Nov 18, 2008, 6:23am Top

I would love to read some books from the colonial times as well...not only james town and roanoke.

...as I have played CIV: colonization on my pc lately, great game!

Dec 7, 2008, 10:03am Top

Connie Lapallo is a descendant of a Starving Time survivor from 1609-1610 in Jamestown, Virginia. Her book, "Dark Enough to See the Stars in the Jamestown Sky" is filled with facts about the ordeals these people endured. The chapters are short, there are many quotes from the Classics and it's imbued with multiple Christian references and Biblical quotes. Although not the greatest writing, the book does leave one with a deeper knowledge of what life was like for our early settlers.

Dec 7, 2008, 1:10pm Top

Connie Lapallo is a descendant of a Starving Time survivor from 1609-1610 in Jamestown, Virginia. Her book, "Dark Enough to See the Stars in the Jamestown Sky" is filled with facts about the ordeals these people endured. The chapters are short, there are many quotes from the Classics and it's imbued with multiple Christian references and Biblical quotes. Although not the greatest writing, the book does leave one with a deeper knowledge of what life was like for our early settlers.

May 24, 2009, 12:19am Top

I very much enjoyed "A Durable Fire" by Virginia Bernhard--a story of the early years of the Jamestown settlement. I would definitely recommend this book.

I also have in my library, but have not read, the following:

"The Lost Colony" by Edison Marshall and "Roanoke" by Lee Miller. The Miller book is a non-fiction book.

Looking a bit more, I see that I also have an Edison Marshall book entitled "Great Smith", about John Smith. The Marshall books are out of print but I was able to find them a while back through various out-of-print booksellers.

Jan 3, 2012, 4:00am Top

I read a book called Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein. It was quite good. I also read Pocahontas by Susan Donnell and Love and Hate in Jamestown (mostly a step by step account of who said what, did what and what happened)
Yes there is a distinct lack of novels that are not written by boring people boringly. T_T I shall just have to write one lol

Jan 16, 2012, 1:53am Top

Revenger by Rory Clements, which I just finished about two hours ago, is set in England, but the plot turns on the fate of the Roanoke colony. It's worth reading and may keep you on the edge of your seat. Don't start it late at night!

Apr 16, 2012, 1:47pm Top

I have just released a new epic historical novel that includes Jamestown and other settlements in the Chesapeake. There are also references to the lost Roanoke colony. The book is titled "Destiny Comes on the Wind - The Legend of Opechancanough"

Check out the listings at:

The Premise

This account is partly based on actual historical events, myths, and legends surrounding the life of Paramount Chief Opechancanough of the Powhatan Confederation of Tribes. I was inspired to write this novel when I learned that I was a direct descendant of Opechancanough some twelve generations ago. This fictional account is given from the perspective of Opechancanough and the natives of the New World. This strong leader influenced and was involved in many historical events over his long lifetime. More than anything else, it is the story of one man’s determined efforts to stop the relentless encroachment of those that would seek to dominate his people and change forever their way of life. Many Europeans and Native inhabitants would perish in the inevitable struggle for domination.

The personal journal of this complex character is the solution to several unexplained mysteries. The elements of this tale include: high adventure, war, drama, deception, hate, bigotry, love, supernatural spirits, superstition, and religion. Although much of the story is pure fiction, it is wrapped so tightly with true historical events it will seem entirely plausible to the reader.

The primary character’s Algonquian speaking people are believed to be the descendants of hunter-gatherers that crossed an ancient land bridge from Asia thousands of years ago. There is some evidence that additional genetics may have come from early Viking explorers. The Viking physical traits of reddish hair, taller stature, and paler skin set these northeastern coastal tribes apart from the other indigenous people of North and South America.

This story begins early in the year 1561 with the abduction of a chief's son by Spanish mariners. It was a time of exploration before there were any European settlements in the Chesapeake Bay. It would be 46 years before the English founded the nearby Jamestown colony. The European sovereigns were attempting to expand their empires and religions into this part of the New World. Much of the exploration and colonization was driven by the search for a shorter trade passage to the Orient. The prospects of incalculable wealth, free land, and religious freedom would drive men to commit horrid atrocities against each other in the name of an empire, individual greed, and the often brutal perception of their God’s will.

Armed only with his great strength, unique knowledge, and powerful longbow, an enigmatic warrior rose up to lead his people against the inevitable European invasion that he knew was destined to come on the wind.

Group: Historical Fiction

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