Tuesday, September 26, 2017

#BookReview: That Woman by Wayne Clark

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Beating the Odds in Colonial New York

Kidnapped in France and brought to America as an indentured servant, a young woman takes on the brutal merchant king of New York’s East River waterfront…

Illness suddenly deprives 17-year-old Sarah Da Silva and her older brother Jacob of a mother. Before Sarah has come to terms with that loss, her merchant father grows frail and increasingly desperate in the face of impending bankruptcy. On the rainy night their father scours the docks of Bordeaux, France, to make his final bid to save his family, his children are kidnapped and forced onto a ship bound for New York City where they’ll be separated and sold to the highest bidder as indentured labor. 

Purchased by a grotesque merchant whose wealth, backed by a team of henchmen, allows him to dominate the chaotic East River docks, Sarah strikes back the only way she can. Vowing to never allow him to put his hands on her again, she presses a knife to his fat neck. She demands her freedom, a roof over her head and the means to start a business. Her leverage? Knowledge obtained on the voyage that would bring the big man to his knees forever. He yields to her demands but privately swears to become her worst nightmare.
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Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆   |   Obtained from: Edelweiss   |   Read: September 21, 2017
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Most readers have been blown away by Wayne Clark’s That Woman and while I completely respect that fact, I can’t claim to run with the crowd. I stand by my review, but I want to be very clear that I am in the minority when it comes to this book and that my comments should be understood as the exception rather than the norm.

For the record, I quite liked the idea of this story and applaud the author’s vision and choice of subject matter. I don’t think there’s enough colonial fiction on the market and I’m always happy to see titles that venture off the beaten path, even when the end result isn’t quite what I expected.

Much as the premise intrigued me, Clark’s style and tone failed to capture my imagination. The depth of his research is evident, but I felt the wealth of historic exposition detrimental to the story’s pacing. I also struggled with Sarah who struck me as one-dimensional Mary Sue.

At the end of the day, That Woman boasts a great story, but the telling wasn't a good fit for me and I'd have difficulty recommending it forward.

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"I am that woman, and it was my greatest moment."
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1 comment:

Audra said...

Thanks for being honest. Some books aren't for all folks, and I appreciate your sharing your thoughts!