The Widow’s War by Sally Gunning is an intriguing historical novel that gives a fresh
perspective. Lyddie was happily married
to Edward for twenty years until he was lost at sea. In 1761 on Cape Cod the head of the family,
the man in charge of Edward’s money, is Lyddie’s son-in-law Nathan. Every expense or decision is to be approved
by him, Lyddie is not only mourning the loss of her husband but reduced to live
in circumstances that are normal for the times but very depressing for the new
widow as she loses the independence she prized as a wife along with the man she
loved. She rebels. You go girl!
As Lyddie fights the rule of her son-in-law she starts to question and
defy other rules of society. Sally
Gunning based her story on historical research into the traditions and laws of
the period, particularly those governing women.
She read diaries and wills of people living on Cape Cod. A woman had few rights and risked alienation
from her friends, neighbors and family if she challenged the order of the
day. Lyddie is an engaging character,
she will make you think of a woman’s life on Cape Cod in the 1700’s and admire
the determination of a woman willing to defy the patriarchal rule of the day,
risking being ostracized from the community, in order to gain a modicum of self determination and independence
Married for twenty years to Edward Berry, Lyddie is used to the trials of being a whaler's wife in the Cape Cod village of Satucket, Massachusetts—running their house herself during her husband's long absences at sea, living with the daily uncertainty that Edward will simply not return. And when her worst fear is realized, she finds herself doubly cursed. She is overwhelmed by grief, and her property and rights are now legally in the hands of her nearest male relative: her daughter's overbearing husband, whom Lyddie cannot abide. Lyddie decides to challenge both law and custom for control of her destiny, but she soon discovers the price of her bold "war" for personal freedom to be heartbreakingly dear.
Includes the fascinating "story behind the story" of The Widow's War, a map of colonial Brewster, and a driving tour of the village of Satucket.
About the Author
A lifelong resident of New England, Sally Cabot Gunning has immersed herself in its history from a young age. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Satucket Novels—The Widow’s War, Bound, and The Rebellion of Jane Clarke—and, writing as Sally Cabot, the equally acclaimed Benjamin Franklin’s Bastard. She lives in Brewster, Massachusetts, with her husband, Tom.
“Merging historical fact with riveting fiction . . . This is historical fiction at its best; highly recommended.”
— Library Journal (starred review)
“Provocative . . . Gunning infuses the story with suspense and intrigue [and] resists easy generalizations and stereotypes.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Readers will be swiftly turning the pages, eagerly cheering for the strong-willed widow.”
“Heartrending ... Gunning’s vibrant portrayal of Lyddie’s journey shows that the pursuit of happiness is not for the faint of heart.”
— Boston Globe
“Gripping, romantic, historically sound, and completely satisfying...I’ll be surprised if I read a better historical novel this year.”
— Historical Novels Review (The Historical Novel Society); "Editor's Choice"