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A True and Faithful Narrative by Katherine…

A True and Faithful Narrative

by Katherine Sturtevant

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Yup, "eh" pretty much covers it. ( )
  imahorcrux | Jun 22, 2016 |
Fabulous young adult novel with a strong female character, Meg Moore, who demonstrates the struggle of female writers in colonial times. This book uses its setting cleverly to help readers understand what 17h century England was like as well as the dangers of travel and the "new worlds" that Edward Gosse experiences. Great "love triangle" story, too! I know my high school girls would enjoy this book - the characters are complex and strong in their convictions. I teach colonial American literature, but I really think this novel could be a great summer reading choice or even a supplemental book while we study colonial narratives and Puritan female writers like Anne Bradstreet. ( )
  jcarroll12 | Jul 16, 2014 |
This book has a very vivid, realistic historical setting. Great characters and a very interesting plot. It is the sequel to "At the Sign of the Star" but can be read alone as well.
I loved this book, it is sweet and endearing. Really good book! ( )
  joririchardson | Jan 25, 2010 |
Richie's Picks: A TRUE AND FAITHFUL NARRATIVE by Katherine Sturtevant, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, May 2006, ISBN: 0-374-37809-6

"C'mon people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now."
-- Dino Valenti (1963)

"The world listens carefully to the words of any pope. And it is tragic and dangerous when one sows pain, either deliberately or carelessly." --New York Times editorial

"He has a dark mentality that comes from the darkness of the Middle Ages...It looks like an effort to revive the mentality of the Crusades." --Turkish Parliamentary leader Salih Kapusuz

C'mon. Let's be honest. If the Pope's priorities centered around tolerance and world peace, would he be quoting some 14th century Byzantine emperor or would he be quoting and singing some Sixties peace and brotherhood songs?

As evidenced by the endless stream of propaganda -- from that which led to the Crusades up through that which causes worldwide tension this weekend -- there has always been a wealth of misinformation and fear being spread about Islam. And it was similarly the case in the 1680s London world in which Meg Moore lives.

Meg Moore was twelve when I first met her in Katherine Sturtevant's AT THE SIGN OF THE STAR, which was published back in 2000. Now, in A TRUE AND FAITHFUL NARRATIVE, Meg is sixteen. In the first book we come to know Meg as the only surviving child of a mother who repeatedly bred (as it was referred to at the time) before dying in childbirth.

Meg is an unusual young woman for her time. Her father is a London bookseller and Meg, who regularly works with her father and who reads everything she can get her hands on, has high hopes of always having the bookstore. Unfortunately, her father takes another wife who begins successfully producing offspring -- including male heirs -- causing Meg's childhood dream to go flying out the window. AT THE SIGN OF THE STAR concludes with Meg's deciding that she wants to be the rarest of seventeenth century London creatures -- a female author.

Four years later in 1681, in A TRUE AND FAITHFUL NARRATIVE, headstrong Meg is at the age where those of her gender are typically being bartered away by their fathers. might there be a way for Meg to end up both married and in a bookstore? Or might it be possible to become published despite the fact that any notion of his daughter being a female author is well beyond what Meg's relatively tolerant father is willing to abide?

Shortly before Meg's best friend Anne Gosse (daughter of a wine merchant) is to be married, Anne's big brother Edward stops by to purchase some reading materials. It turns out he is leaving on an extended business trip to the Mediterranean.

" 'You must bring Anne a splendid wedding present when you return,' I said as I opened the ledger. 'Only think of the treasures you can buy for her in the Mediterranean!'
He pulled off his lace-trimmed gloves and laid them on the counter. 'It will likely be a year, perhaps two, before I come again to England,' he said as he brought out his purse.
" 'To be sure. I had not thought. Well, you must send her something, then. Venetian lace, perhaps. Anne would love that.'
"He fished out his shillings, and put them into my open palm. His fingers were warm and soft. Before I could curl my hands around the coins he laid his own palm over mine, trapping the money between our two hands. 'And what shall I bring you, Meg?' "It was then that I remembered Anne's words, be kind to him, and understood them for the first time. My mouth fell open and I was flooded with horror, for it was clear that he offered me a courtship gift. I knew not what to say, and it is a fault of mine that I cannot be still at such moments. Instead, the wrong words fly from my tongue. " 'Why, nothing, unless -- yes, I so wish we had a narrative to rival Okeley's that we might sell at the sign of the Star. Can you manage to be captured by pirates, and enslaved in North Africa?' "

Sure enough, when Anne and Edward's father dies unexpectedly and Edward hastily arranges a return to London, he is captured by pirates and enslaved in North Africa. And it is there that Edward learns that so much of the common knowledge that he knew of Islamic culture was actually misconception. When after his extended enslavement Edward finally returns home it is Meg who is given the opportunity by Edward to write the narrative. It is Meg who will be faced with those misconceptions, and Meg who must balance what she knows will sell with being a writer worthy of the primary source material to which she is so fortunate to have access.

A TRUE AND FAITHFUL NARRATIVE is fascinating and enlightening. Through the eyes of Meg Moore and Edward Gosse, Katherine Sturtevant offers us the sights, smells, and culture of Reconstruction London, as well as the exotic splendor of Algiers. And after getting to observe Meg's thought processes as a writer, readers might well wonder the next time they read an article or watch a television report as to what parts of the real story have been included or excluded for the sake of entertainment or propaganda value.

Richie Partington
BudNotBuddy@aol.com ( )
1 vote richiespicks | May 26, 2009 |
This is a smart book and an example of historical fiction at its finest. Seventeenth century girls do NOT write their own stories. They get married and have children and clean the house. Meg has two suitors, but she cannot escape the notion that she really wants to write her own stories. Her father is a bookseller and Meg helps in the store. She has even, unbeknownst to her father, dabbled with a quill. Can she be married and still stay in the store? When Edward, one of the suitors, asks Meg what he should get his sister on his trip, Meg tells him to bring his sister a wedding gift. When Edward places his hands on Meg’s and asks what he should get for her, Meg panics and tells him to get captured by pirates so the bookstore will have a great story to sell. When Edward is indeed captured by pirates and taken prisoner in heathen, Northern Africa, Meg is filled with guilt. Edward eventually returns with a very different perspective. His definition of “heathen” is tempered by a knowledge of what he experienced juxtaposed against what he has been taught in his London home. Edward gives Meg the opportunity to write his story and Meg discovers that she has her own preconceived notions about the world, equally in need of adjustment. Put this book in every middle school library. With a different cover, this one easily goes into high school libraries too. Teachers could use this book as a way to discuss students’ own views about gender roles and ways to see a bigger world filled with many more possibilities. Highly recommended for both middle school and high school libraries and classrooms!
1 vote edspicer | Nov 25, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374378096, Hardcover)

In Restoration London, sixteen-year-old Meg Moore is
something of an anomaly. Unlike other girls her age, Meg pores
over books. She spends long hours conversing with the famous
authors and poets who visit her father's bookstore, and even
writes her own stories, laboring over every word until her hand
is black with ink. Without warning, however, Meg comes to
learn exactly how powerful words can be. The day her best
friend's brother Edward sets sail for Italy, Meg scoffs at his
attempts at romance by answering him with a thoughtless jest.
Soon news travels to London that Edward's ship has been
captured and he has been sold as a slave in North Africa - and
Meg cannot shake the thought that her cruel words are the
cause. Now Meg must use her fiery language to bring Edward
home, imploring her fellow Londoners to give all that they can
to buy Edward's freedom. But once Meg learns to direct the
power behind her words, will she be able to undo the damage
she has caused, and write freely the stories that she longs to put
to paper?

This inspired sequel to At the Sign of the Star continues Meg's
story with elegance and élan.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:50 -0400)

In London in the 1680s, Meg--now sixteen years old--tries to decide whether to marry either of the two men who court her, taking into account both love and her writing ambitions.

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