This book again demonstrates why I dislike historical fiction. Why, oh why, can an author not stay within the scope of one or two events from history as opposed to everything that happened. This novel follows two individuals who consider themselves ‘patriots’ after the revolutionary war. As the United States of America take their first steps into democracy, Joan Maycott and Ethan Saunders find themselves involved in the Whiskey Rebellion. The novel also sprinkles in Washingtons, Hamiltons, and Aaron Burrs to gain a certain level of legitimacy. I could go on and on and on about the things I didn’t like in this book, but I will focus on one.
The Joan Maycott character is highly unbelievable. Liss throws his modern day perspective on a woman that could not and would not have had aspirations of being a novelist particularly coming from her back ground. Also the idea of writing a great American novel is slightly preposterous. After the death of Joan’s husband her character becomes even MORE unbelievable and completely disregards her earlier life’s work and now focuses on revenge… and she is able to bring along her Whiskey Rebel friends who take an indulgent and impossible attitude to homosexuality at the time.
The Ethan Saunders character is more likable, but no more believable. Particularly when it comes to the storyline involving his slave. Of course, despite Saunder’s selfishness, he has a very open and fair minded attitude towards his slave. In addition to the unbelievability of the characters themselves I also disliked the one dimensional nature of the ‘bad guys’. Of course the bad guy would be