Feb 5 2007
Dear Ms. St Clair Robson,
I began reading historical fiction at an early age and devoured books by Jean Plaidy and Norah Lofts. I’ve only read one of your other books (Ride the Wind) but it gave me an idea of what to expect from this one. I adore a good book that expounds on something I might know a little about and which ends up teaching me something new. “Shadow Patriots” does both.
Readers who are looking for a romance might want to look elsewhere because this book would fit into “the post that wouldn’t end” and gives us readers a love story and not romance story. To make matters worse (romance wise), the couple with the bittersweet love don’t even meet until halfway through the book. But for readers who want a detailed look at the American Revolution, including events and details not often seen, this is one to look for.
You don’t spare us the gritty truths behind the war that not only separated us from Great Britain but which ripped this country apart as loyalists fought patriots and everyone suspected the Quakers. The book almost has a “who’s who in the American Revolution” feel and while some of the details are a little awkwardly included all are fascinating. I felt like I was walking the crowded, garbage strewn streets of NYC, looking for wood and food during the days of the British occupation under General Clinton. My breath caught as the members of the Culper spy ring gathered their intelligence for General Washington under the very noses of the loyalists. The facts about the conditions aboard the prisoner of war ships gives me a greater understanding of what one of my own ancestors endured after the battle of Charlestown. And in the end I grieved for the love lost in the fight for freedom.
I enjoyed how you used humor to lighten the mood of the book. The scene when the French admiral lands in Newport and the natives can’t pronounce his name and so keep referring to him as Admiral “Rush ‘Em Boys” is priceless.
Thomas Paine wrote
These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
The Culper Gang were definitely not “sunshine patriots.” B