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Massacre: Daughter of War by Danielle Mead…

Massacre: Daughter of War

by Danielle Mead Skjelver

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Recently added byDanielSauerwein, danaLL2, Skjelver



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Historical fiction is a very demanding genre to tackle partly because of the daunting task of doing the research. As the Local History Librarian at the Silas Bronson Library, which is the public library in downtown Waterbury, Connecticut, I can honestly say I was thrilled to see anyone even attempt to recreate Colonial era Waterbury, as Skjelver has done in this book. In the preface, Skjelver states that the English settlers portrayed in the book were real people. Using two reference sources at the Silas Bronson Library that cover Waterbury in the Colonial era, I checked the surname Hawks and found Jonathan and Hannah Hawks listed, for the exact time period of the novel, which is the early 1700s. This tells me that the author cared about historical accuracy.
From various reference sources, I had heard Waterbury described as a "howling wilderness." Now, turning to page 127 of this book, I read about an incident where an English settler in Waterbury, who was out clearing his land, was set upon by Abenaki warriors and tortured to death. His brother heard him yell for help and was about to rush to his aid when an older, more experienced man counseled him that he would only be walking into an ambush and that, if he acted rashly, he would not only lose his own life, but would be sacrificing the lives of his other family members, who would be defenseless against the attack that was sure to come. These were the kinds of horrible choices people of that time and place had to make.
The story jumps around between Connecticut and Massachusetts, with the massacre of Deerfield prominently featured. There are brutal killings on almost every page, whether it's whites killing Indians or vice versa. You don't know who to root for, and, maybe, that's the point of the book: both sides were guilty of committing what would be considered atrocities today. I found myself intrigued by the vignettes of domesticity, for example, there is a scene where a child is learning how to card wool. Had the author placed more emphasis on daily life, exploring the relationships within a particular family in greater depth, I think I would have stuck with the book. Unfortunately, it was just too gory for me to be able to enjoy the book as a work of fiction.
In the preface, Skjelver states that she didn't feel she could tone down the violence without sacrificing historical truth. I disagree with that aproach. There are many examples of literary classics, such as Tolstoy's War and Peace, that manage to convey the sense of catastrophe or intense conflict without the gruesomeness I found in Massacre. If you want your book to be read, you have to make some concessions to taste. Maybe, that's why Skjelver self-published the book. From what I gathered in my conversations with her on Facebook, she wrote the book mainly for her family, not thinking it would ever garner a larger readership.
  danaLL2 | Aug 15, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0974862800, Paperback)

Winner of the 2011 National Historic Research and Preservation Award from the Daughters of Colonial Wars.
Based on a true story, this novel brings back to life Hannah Hawks Scott, whom Joseph Anderson called the most afflicted woman in all New England. Born to a soldier of King Philip's War, Hannah found herself caught in the inevitable clash of two cultures. Yet, she was not alone in her affliction. Drawing on many sources, the author weaves into Hannah's story the tale of a fictional Pequot boy whose life redefines the word 'massacre'.
Spanning the 1637 attack on the Pequot Fort to the 1704 raid of Deerfield, Massachusetts, and through Queen Anne's War, this novel delivers a powerful examination of the conflict between Puritan colonists and the First Nations of North America. Follow the lives of Hannah and this young boy as they endure the nightmare of war ~ each struggling for family, each struggling for home.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:38 -0400)

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