Customer Reviews for

The Widow's War

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

26 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

The Widow's War: A Much Welcome Historical Novel

Sally Gunning's The Widow's War places the reader in an historical time that we all think we know about, (18th Century New England - specifically, Cape Cod), since so many of us had years of American History in school and had possibly visted myriad historical sites with...
Sally Gunning's The Widow's War places the reader in an historical time that we all think we know about, (18th Century New England - specifically, Cape Cod), since so many of us had years of American History in school and had possibly visted myriad historical sites with classmates and/or family. This novel, however, brings an intimacy with the times, which may have been lacking in history classes, that not only makes the time period live, but makes the characters interesting and worthy of our compassion. It is not a 'Woman's' book. At a recent meeting of my book club, we were fortunate to have Sally Gunning as a guest who shared much of her detailed research, historical models for her characters, and why she turned from writing mysteries to penning an historical novel. She mentioned that men who had read the book were clear that they felt it was not a feminine read. It is for anyone who enjoys an engaging story steeped in historical fact. The characters, the place (Brewster, Cape Cod, Massachusetts), 18th Century mores, and the smells and textures of a community that depended on whaling, are drawn so vividly that details are immediately turned into pictures in the reader's mind. Lyddie, the main character, is like no other 18th century woman that I've ever read about--she is so real and vibrant. The dialogue is rich and the vocabulary full of 18th century meanings. But you won't need a glossary of terms. You'll learn, for example, what a 'necessary' was in those days. The relationship between Native Americans and colonists, the role of law in the society, and a strong hint of the burgeoning idea of freedom from England in the person of an historically accurate James Otis, all contribute to this engaging novel. It is a window into one woman's world, that in its detail gives an encompassing view of part of the 18th Century, in New England, in all of its complexities and richness.

posted by Anonymous on March 27, 2006

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Not my cup of tea

I read this hoping for a good historical fiction, however, other than references to some political going-ons of the day, the point of view of the main character had little to do with the 1700s. A pet peeve of mine is when "historical fiction" is infused with 21st centu...
I read this hoping for a good historical fiction, however, other than references to some political going-ons of the day, the point of view of the main character had little to do with the 1700s. A pet peeve of mine is when "historical fiction" is infused with 21st century thoughts and ideas which usually take the characters down a road of "sexual liberation" and 20th century feminism. The main character was not believable and I found most of the supporting characters to be flat and caricature-like. I also did not feel invested in any of the relationships, except maybe the widow's relationship to her dead husband.

posted by Too_Busy_Reading_To_Write on April 12, 2010

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  • Posted July 21, 2011

    Excellent, enjoyable read!

    I enjoyed this wonderful book about a strong woman that manouvers life's difficulties with intelligence and compassion. She is forthrite but not mean. It was also an excellent look into life in the colonies at that time. I shared a few passages with my mother and didn't get the book back until she was done.

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  • Posted July 18, 2011

    highly recommended

    terrific book, glad i am in this century and not in hers. great story, well written historical . thanks

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  • Posted July 9, 2011

    Great view

    Satisfying look at a difficult-to-grasp time. Not often we see this period in a woman's voice. Inventive and well done.

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  • Posted July 8, 2011

    Great book, couldn't put it down!

    Lyddie, the wife of a whaler in a Cape Cod Village, Massachusetts, finds herself a widow, way before she was ready. Upon waking from a nightmare of her husband being lost at sea, she finds herself moved to her daughter and son-in-laws home, or should I say his clutch. This moving story reflects how in the 18th century a woman would be treated. She now owns only 1/3 of her property, is told what to bring and what not to bring, what she needs and what she doesn't need. Things progress until finally Lyddie takes her fate into her own hands. Miss treatment of not only her son-in-law, her daughter, the church, the community, has her reaching far beyond where a white person was allowed to go. Couldn't put this book down!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2011

    Great book for such a small price...

    We have it so good now and have no idea. This is the story of a brave woman who fought for her freedoms when it was unlawful to do so. Bravo to Sally Gunning on a fantastic story.

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  • Posted June 28, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    Really enjoyed this book.

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  • Posted June 29, 2011

    Wonderful!

    I could not put this book down! Great characters and excellent dialogue make this novel a must read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction I absolutely loved it and was sad when it ended This book would make a great movie!

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  • Posted June 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Encouraging

    Didn't want the story to end!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2014

    Wonderfully Insight to Life in Pre-Revolutionary War

    Well written tale of a widow's fight for her own independence, while the country is ramping up for the American Revolution. The author provides a very detailed look into life, living, and society of the era. This is one of my most favorite books, ever!

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  • Posted June 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly recommend and I don't usually rate books

    I don't usually review books, but I couldn't let this one pass by. I took a chance on it for a mere 99 cents. I wish all of my picks were this good. A great story about a womens struggle and the strength and courage in a time when that was not considered a quality a woman should have.

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    Posted May 23, 2010

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