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Flesh and Grass by Libby Cone

Flesh and Grass

by Libby Cone

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138723,089 (3.38)4



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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
"...Captivating and masterful..." My full review may be read on my book review blog Rundpinne: http://www.rundpinne.com/2011/08/book-review-flesh-and-grass-by-libby-cone.html ( )
  knittingmomof3 | Aug 28, 2011 |
I quite enjoyed Libby Cone’s first book War on the Margins, and when she e-mailed me about reviewing her new book Flesh and Grass I was immediately interested. Generally when I read historical fiction I read fiction based around the two world wars but I thought why not get out of my comfort zone a little.

Unfortunately I didn’t find Flesh and Grass as good as War on the Margins. I found it a little slower, and I didn’t really feel like I ever got into it. There were elements I liked, I thought the emotions were done really well, and you could really understand how smells were attached to emotions for Cornelis. Historically it was interesting too, but I didn’t really get much from it about what it was like to be in completely new place. While events which would bring strong emotions were well described the general day-to-day feelings brought on by moving to a new place were barely touched upon.

I must admit that Libby Cone does have the tendency to write like a historian rather than an author. The topics are interesting but turning them into a story adds little, and it seemed to add less here than in War on the Margins. ( )
  Lucybird | Aug 28, 2011 |
Wow .... just wow. You know that feeling when your partner hands you a gift and it's in a really little package and you know it is going to be an expensive and amazing gift? Well this book is like that. An amazing gift in a small package.

A fictional group of immigrants from The Netherlands land in America in the hopes of building a community that allows them to live and worship as they wish. Despite this description, the book is not what I would categorize 'Christian Fiction'. It is, more realistically, historical fiction that Libby Cone states is "a work of fiction loosely based on the story of the Plockhoy settlement." (if you are interested in more info on the Plockhoy settlement, Google it. If you want a more concise synopsis of this book, click here)

Pieter Boom takes his wife and son, Cornelis, to begin a new and better life in the New World in 1662. First twist: Cornelis is blind. He is also the narrator of the story. Consequently his descriptions are based mostly on smell. (The odorous descriptions of all the good food is why I blame Ms. Cone for the total destruction of my diet) The descriptive passages in the book are so vivid that I could smell the baking bread, the beer, the spices, the sun on the grass. Being blind also means that people tend to speak freely around Cornelis so he is privy to the goings on in the community and able to keep his family updated on the news of the day.

Second twist: life in America is not all it's cracked up to be. It starts off great but soon war intrudes on the idyllic life of the new community. It becomes apparent that tribulations are not endemic to where people live, instead they are endemic to living. And if the smells of food did damage to my diet, so did the smells of destruction - no meat for me for awhile.

I picked this 167 page gem off of my TBR pile this morning and before I knew it, I was closing the book on the last page. The narrative is easy to read although the language is true to the 1600's. There are lots of big words and the syntax is often unfamiliar but, somehow, the story doesn't get bogged down or lost in the vocabulary. This one is going to stick with me - in a good way. ( )
  DanaBurgess | Jul 13, 2011 |
A fictional version of a diary by the son of the founder of the ill-fated Delaware settlement, 1699. It is written in the writing style of that day, including those spelling and punctuation conventions. At first the spelling caught my attention, but soon that faded into the background of the story. The protagonist is blind, but learns to read and write on a wax tablet. Much of his recollection is tied to the smells he noticed. I enjoyed the description of the smells and that made the story come alive. I have not read much regarding the history of that period, and found it quite informative. However, I felt the book ended abruptly and felt unfinished. ( )
  TizzzieLish | Apr 24, 2010 |
I received a complimentary copy of Flesh and Grass by Libby Cone from LibraryThing.com to read and review.
This was an ebook. The views are my own.

Flesh and Grass was written like a diary. Cornelius is the main character of the book and he is blind. The book uses a lot of descriptions as Cornelius is writing the diary and he uses senses other than sight. His mother smelled of cinnamon, he could smell the tobacco, there was the smell of leather and also the smell of burning death.
Spices have played an important part in this book and what we now take for granted, it was hard to get in the middle 1660s. Ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves are some mentioned.
His father taught him to knit hosiery before he lost his sight and this is what Cornelius does to earn money.
The family has come to America from Amsterdam and they go to Nieuw Amsterdam, the future New York. They live in the village of Hoonkill.
The family is very religious and often recite the Psalms from the Bible. At one part of the book they have bread and beer and "God is generous". Cornelius' sister marries but first the young man must be a Christian.
The people grew crops and had gardens with parsnips, lettuce, cabbage and "pease". Hops were grown for beer as water was often unsafe to drink.They had cows and sheep for milk and yarn. Flax was grown for the hose but later Cornelius uses wool for his knitting.
I found it interesting that they had buttons down their back so that they needed assistance to help with the dressing. Later, Cornelius remarks that the buttons were now in front of the garments.
Some brought skates but were disappointed that they could not ice skate in the winter as they did in Amsterdam.
He writes about his family, his father and his father's death and how that affected him He writes about his siblings from his father and also from his mother's second husband.
The people suffer from invasion from the French, the Indians and the English make them British subjects. Crops are burned and places rebuilt. Cornelius befriends a slave named Anthony. Taxes are included in the writing. Historical figures such as Cornwall. States such as Mary Land and Delaware are included in the book.
There is a lot happening in this short book and plenty of history.
I enjoyed it because it is written like the reader is reliving part of this time period.
A good book for younger people so they can get a sense of what life was like even before we became a country. ( )
  mnleona | Apr 21, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)

Just as in her first novel, War on the Margins, Libby Cone has chosen to write about a small, tightly-knit community that becomes overwhelmed by outside forces and events. Once again, her research is meticulous and the fine detail of everyday life transports the reader to the very heart of that community.
"...The battery of my Sony Reader ran down while I was reading the ebook, and rather than waiting a few hours for it to recharge, I continued reading on my laptop. Once I started the book, I just had to continue reading all the way through! The story just draws you in and won't let you go. I would recommend Flesh and Grass to anyone that enjoys reading historical fiction of the colonial period."
added by reademwritem | editColleen's Reads, Colleen (Feb 26, 2010)
"...This is an exciting story, full of human characters and people brought out of history books as living beings. I’m going to be doing more reading about Cornelis Plockhoy, and what happened in what we now call Lewes."

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Seventeenth-century Holland is a major power with a large, wealthy middle class built on spices and slavery. Dutch schemes to colonize the New World attracts few interested parties, but Pieter Cornelissoon Boom, an early Mennonite with a dream of communal living, brings a few families to Delaware Bay in 1663. Their "Little Common-wealth" is just getting started when the bloody economic rivalry between Holland and England unleashes violence on the coast of Delaware. The Nieuw Netherland colonies swing between Dutch and English ownership in a series of Anglo-Dutch wars. Cornelis, Boom's blind son, tells the story of the community (based loosely on the ill-fated Delaware settlement of Pieter Plockhoy) in its various forms of existence, relying on his exquisite memory of scent.
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