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The Schoolmaster's Daughter: A Novel of the…

The Schoolmaster's Daughter: A Novel of the American Revolution (edition 2011)

by John Smolens

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363458,160 (3.44)None
Title:The Schoolmaster's Daughter: A Novel of the American Revolution
Authors:John Smolens
Info:Pegasus (2011), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:American Revolution, Boston, Concord, Lexington, historical fiction, Bunker Hill

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The Schoolmaster's Daughter: A Novel of the American Revolution by John Smolens



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I wanted to love it, I really did. But I think what broke this novel's potential in the very beginning is his choice to write from a female perspective when he clearly has none.

The book was filled with so many errors, but my personal favorite is this:

"Abigail felted tricked: the terms were changing." Page 60

I realize felted is a word and spell check won't correct it, but how can someone even write that? You'd have to be smashed, stupid, and negligent to miss a mistake like that.

Then I began to hate his imagery--especially concerning women:
"The back of the baby's head was as smooth and round as Rachel's breast."
Page 64

Um ew. No. Just don't go there. No similes about babies' heads and women's breasts, please. Sheesh. Men.

I will confess, I didn't make it through and don't know the full effect of the ending, but after reaching halfway and skipping ahead to read the last two chapters, I could easily agree with other reviewers who concede that his ending sucks.

2 stars for reasonable historical accuracy. But that's the last revolutionary war novel I'll read for a while. ( )
  cemagoc | Aug 8, 2016 |
John Smolens' special niche has always been the literary thriller. In his last two books, THE ANARCHIST, and now, THE SCHOOLMASTER'S DAUGHTER, he has turned this talent toward historical fiction. With the former, it worked exceedingly well. But the latter novel lumbered laboriously along for a couple hundred pages before it began to hit its stride and lift of into the thriller mode, and even then it returned to earth too soon.

Make no mistake, I am a tried and true fan of Smolens books, so I stayed with THE SCHOOLMASTER'S DAUGHTER for the whole flight, right up until she made that final not-quite-satisfying and curiously flat touch-down. Abigail Lovell, the title character heroine had so much potential, but that potential never quite flowered. It seemed to be choked out by all the historical details, which, while I'm sure they were all accurate and authentic, served, I felt, more to slow down the narrative than to advance the storyline. Abigail's one-time almost-lover Ezra never advanced much beyond the negative stage, and her other, the redcoat officer Samuel Cleaveland, didn't fare much better, his part "prematurely" curtailed as the final big battle for Boston began. The same incompleteness plagued other characters - Abigail's brothers James and Benjamin, her father, the turncoat Corporal Lumley, the prostitute Molly Collins and others. The real historical characters - Paul Revere, Dr Warren, General Gage, Israel Putnam, and even George Washington - all seemed to mostly get in the way of what I believe could have been a much more exciting story, i.e. a John Smolens story.

I guess it felt to me like the historian strangled the novelist here. I don't mean to say the book is bad. But by Smolens standards it could have been - should have been - so much better. I suspect the book will be loved by history buffs, but perhaps not so much by literature nerds like me. No fear though, John. I will still be eagerly awaiting that next book from you. I'm still hoping for a sequel to COLD, another Michigan Upper Peninsula story reprising the great character of Sheriff Del Maki. ( )
  TimBazzett | Jan 30, 2012 |
In 1775 Abigail Lovell finds herself and her family torn apart by the American Revolution. Her father, headmaster of Boston Latin School, remains loyal to the crown while her brothers help the Patriots by conveying messages about British troop movements in the greater Boston area. Her younger brother is with the Minutemen in Concord and fights with the colonials at Bunker Hill. Abigail, in the meantime, is accused on murdering a British officer and is helped by another British soldier who wishes to court her. She must decide between helping colonists in their fight or following her heart. Rich in historic detail, and about a family who really lived during this time, this is a good look at the life of a young woman during the first year of the American Revolution. Smolens won the Michigan Author Award in 2010. ( )
  milibrarian | Nov 10, 2011 |
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War's begun -and school's done.

John Lovell, Headmaster
The Latin School, Boston
April 19, 1775
In memory of my wife, Patricia Anne Miles Smolens
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Part One April: The Alarm In the fall of 1774 and winter of 1775, I was one of upwards of thirty, chiefly mechanics, who formed ourselves into a committee for the purpose of watching the movements of the British soldiers, and gaining every intelligence of the movements of the Tories...................................Paul Revere, Boston
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"With the outbreak of the American revolution, Abigail Lovell's family is torn apart--while her schoolmaster father is an outspoken loyalist and prominent figurehead in the community, she and her two brothers engage in acts of espionage to undermine the British forces in Boston. Her sickly older brother, James, operates the patriots' spy ring while Abigail acts as a courier, eluding increasingly aggressive British patrols. Meanwhile, her younger brother, Benjamin, slips out of Boston to fight alongside Abigail's love, Ezra, in the battles at Lexington and Concord. With the help of her friend, Rachel Revere, Abigail smuggles money and supplies out to Benjamin, Ezra, and other revolutionaries. But when a British sergeant is found murdered, Abigail stands accused, and she now must fight to save herself and those she loves. In the tradition of Sally Gunning's Bound and Diana Gabaldon's An Echo in the Bone, The Schoolmaster's Daughter is the story of a family torn asunder--and of a determined young woman who must make courageous decisions if she is to aid in liberating her country"--Dust jacket.… (more)

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