Blindspot: By a Gentleman in Exile and a Lady in Disguise [NOOK Book]


BONUS: This edition contains a Blindspot discussion guide.

Stewart Jameson, a Scottish portrait painter fleeing his debtors in Edinburgh, has washed up on the British Empire's far shores—in the city of Boston, lately seized with the spirit of liberty. Eager to begin anew, he advertises for an apprentice, but the lad who comes knocking is no lad at all. Fanny Easton is a ...
See more details below
Blindspot: By a Gentleman in Exile and a Lady in Disguise

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.99 price


BONUS: This edition contains a Blindspot discussion guide.

Stewart Jameson, a Scottish portrait painter fleeing his debtors in Edinburgh, has washed up on the British Empire's far shores—in the city of Boston, lately seized with the spirit of liberty. Eager to begin anew, he advertises for an apprentice, but the lad who comes knocking is no lad at all. Fanny Easton is a fallen woman from Boston's most prominent family who has disguised herself as a boy to become Jameson's defiant and seductive apprentice. 

Written with wit and exuberance by accomplished historians, Blindspot is an affectionate send-up of the best of eighteenth-century fiction. It celebrates the art of the Enlightenment and the passion of the American Revolution by telling stories of ordinary people caught up in an extraordinary time.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Carolyn See
Blindspot is a novel both frisky and learned…written by two historians who are lifelong friends. They must have had a wonderful time putting this good-natured project together…an engaging way to relearn American history! And how amazing (and more than a little sad) to realize that we, as a country, are plagued by many of the same conundrums—pervasive racism, class distrust, venal officials—now as we were then.
—The Washington Post
Marilyn Stasio
While the 19th century boasts Jack the Ripper and all those drippy Romantic poets, the 18th century can lay claim to swashbuckling wits like Jonathan Swift and William Hogarth and the roguish Gilbert Stuart, the American-born portrait painter (most notably, of George Washington) who studied in Scotland and appears to have been the inspiration for the appealing hero of Blindspot, the first novel by Jane Kamensky and Jill Lepore. Both are professors of American history…and they have adopted the various modes of 18th-century fiction, along with its breathless style. The result is an erudite and entertaining re-creation of colonial America on the brink of the Revolution.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Professors Kamensky and Lepore try for playful historical romance, but deliver instead a novel that is, if rich in period detail, also overwrought, predictably plotted and at times embarrassingly purple. The year is 1764 and portrait painter Stewart Jameson has been chased by debtors from his native Scotland to Boston, where he quickly opens shop and takes an apprentice, the half-starved orphan, Francis Weston, who turns out to be Fanny Easton, the disgraced daughter of one of Boston's leading citizens. Stewart does a good business with Boston's better class, which puts Stewart and Fanny in a good position to solve the murder of an abolitionist. They are joined at this task by Stewart's old friend from Edinburgh, Dr. Ignatius Alexander, a university-trained runaway slave. The mystery plays out with little surprise; rather, the narrative is driven by Alexander's hatred of slavery and by Stewart and Fanny's tawdry relationship. Unfortunately, however, both of these lines prove awkward, and while students of the era may find enough period detail to carry them through, the cheesy plot and facile characterizations are likely to turn off most readers. (Dec.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Portrait painter and libertine Stuart Jameson arrives in 1764 Boston as many arrived in the American Colonies, one step ahead of the law. Fleeing a sheriff and debtor's prison in Edinburgh and hoping to start anew, he makes his first stop in the New World at the print shop of Benjamin Edes to purchase cards, a map, and a history of the city, but he comes away having found prospective lodgings, more information than he cared to know about the deteriorating situation between the Colonies and their British rulers, and a staunch friend. He also places an announcement of his services as a portrait painter and an accompanying advertisement for an apprentice, both of which bring him unexpected surprises. Francis Weston, the apprentice, is talented beyond his wildest dreams, and Jameson's burgeoning business soon plunges him into the dramatic affairs and intense politics of Boston's most influential families. Readers not put off by the slow start will be rewarded by a beautifully crafted debut historical novel that is at once a tender love story, a murder mystery, and a brilliant sociological and political portrait of a turbulent time. The authors are noted historians. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ8/08; see also "Editors' Fall Picks," p. 28-33.-Ed.]
—Cynthia Johnson

The Barnes & Noble Review
Blindspot is a love story and a murder mystery suspended between the picaresque journal entries of Stewart Jameson and the letters of Frances Easton, and couched in the exigent art of seeing, really seeing, things as they are. Or not. For our minds play tricks with how and what we see, and our perceptions are riddled with blind spots, some real, some metaphorical -- ignorance, say, or prejudice. Then there's love, a blind spot often big enough to drive a car through.

The setting is Boston in 1764. Jane Kamensky and Jill Lepore, historians teaching at Brandeis and Harvard, respectively, have given their collaborative novel an 18th-century cast, with its decided earthiness and a joy in clever wordplay that seeks after the spirit of the idiom ("crapulous claw-baw") but avoids being smothered by it. Shades of Sterne, Fielding, and Richardson, though the authors are clearly too mischievous for only that; Jameson can as easily sound like the Captain in Tintin -- "Judas Iscariot on a flaming red chariot!" he barks -- as exhibit Ben Franklin's inclination for puns or Yogi Berra's for malapropisms.

Jameson has fetched up in Boston -- and what a Boston, chromatic in its role as backdrop, even in its state of shabbiness after a number of hard years -- on the run from a very big, bad debt back home in Edinburgh. He's a decent fellow, as well as a bit of a rascal. He has knocked around some in his 30 years and has a hand for portraiture and a knack, as David Hume put it, for reading the internal fabric of his sitters. He also has a head full of steam for quips, digressions, and womanhood, which is why he is unnerved, once he has set up his humble atelier in Boston, to be passionately, ineluctably drawn to his apprentice, young Francis Weston, "more beautiful than I would wish him to be."

Weston is an urchin fresh from the streets when Jameson takes him on because he shows a gift for painting. At the interview, Weston pulls a few samples of work from a grubby bag: "Out came half a dozen likenesses, such as Hogarth himself might have made. Sweet Jesus," marvels Jameson. Outwardly, the penniless Jameson shows less awe; better to keep Weston without airs, and thus without wages.

Weston is also Easton, Frances "Fanny" Easton, outcast daughter of Edward Easton, a despicable man who will become chief justice of the colony's highest court. Her knocking around has been at the hands of men -- her lover, her father -- and with a little help from her streak of rashness, she has gone from elegant townhouse to vile sweatshop in a single bound. Escaping, her breasts bound and hair shorn (though she can't hide the long-lashed eyes or radiant blush), she answers Jameson's advertisement.

Meanwhile, Boston is beginning to roil over taxes imposed by a parliament 3,000 miles away and the arrival of the royal grenadiers. (The history here is smart, stylish stuff, unsurprising if you know anything of Kamensky and Lepore's books, or Lepore's essays in The New Yorker or Common-place, the sophisticated, online journal they started that fuses academic and popular interests in American history.) The authors are obviously not unaware that they are fiddling with dates, but the soldiers play an important, quietly ominous role fanning the town's sense of persecution. One of the pleasures of Blindspot is to watch as two meticulous historians take fiction's liberty.

Liberty -- it raises its proud head on every page: Jameson needs to be liberated from the (quite literally) bad debt and the prickings of his conscience concerning his apprentice; Easton, from her dissembling and the ghosts of her past; the working folk of Boston, from ruinous financial burdens.

And though many want to, there is no way of avoiding the elephant in liberty's living room: slavery. The "great paradox" is played like a stringed instrument by the authors, a mournful music for sure, sometimes aching its way to a dirge. Attitudes toward slavery cut across class and ideological lines in Boston. Both the good and the bad are held up to the light. Foul deeds are done as a result of the ignominy, and the novel's mystery hinges on it. A blind spot, then, for the book's more unsavory, entitled, blackmailing, and supercilious characters, and a petard with which to hoist them. The murder mystery is a knotty one, involving a Boston graybeard -- Samuel Bradstreet, a not-so-dim likeness of James Otis Jr., one of the real town's deepest-running revolutionaries -- and Ignatius Alexander, a friend of Jameson's and a runaway slave. As a child, Alexander had been bought off a slave ship by an English nobleman, who had wagered a bet that, given a proper English education, he could be "civilized...indistinguishable, except for his skin, from an English gentleman."

Alexander is the most complex, or at least the most inscrutable, character. His intellect has indeed become prodigious, and he is still a black man, with all the tribulations that entails once he's been wrested from Guinea. He is also imperious, demanding, cryptic, and insulting -- a strange friend -- as he endeavors to solve the murder and secure a slave's freedom. He orchestrates the story's tension: there may be an obscure method to his madness, but he is like a ticking time bomb, in one world but combustively not of it. A slave once again, he may have seen and endured too much.

Under the circumstances, the love angle inches along in fits and starts. It is not giving away anything unexpected to tell that Weston's guise drops, and she and Jameson get on with it, "it" being a good dose of merrily bawdy nookie, told with a color and carnality that would do another Fanny proud -- with plenty of sweet, tender caring to boot. And if, perchance, they fornicate too much for some, it sure beats reading about economic theory.

Kamensky and Lepore have great fun in these pages, as will readers. Yet the book is more than a takeoff on 18th-century novels. It is a window into the everyday lives of its characters, commoners and grandees working to find their measure of deliverance and satisfaction, though as long as the institution of slavery blots the moral landscape, it will diminish -- at the very least -- all those it touches: a blind spot to some, and a terrible sore spot to others. This is a learned, engaged entertainment; you leave it quickened in a number of ways. --Peter Lewis

Peter Lewis is an editor at the American Geographical Society. He has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times Book Review, the Chicago Tribune, Outside, and Public Radio International, among others.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385528535
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/9/2008
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 600
  • Sales rank: 675,049
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Jane Kamensky is a professor of American history and chair of the History Department at Brandeis University. She is the author of The Exchange Artist and Governing the Tongue, among other books. Her scholarship has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She is currently writing a biography of the eighteenth-century American portrait painter Gilbert Stuart. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and two sons.

Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University, where she is the chair of the History and Literature Program. She is also a regular contributor to The New Yorker. Her books include The Name of War and A Is for American. Her most recent book, New York Burning, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband, three sons, and an extraordinarily large and formidable dog of entirely mysterious extraction.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Had Columbus my gut, the world would be a smaller place. And maybe the better for it. O brave new world: wild, rebellious, mysterious, and strange. And distant. God above, who knew it could be so
bloody far?

Now begins a gentleman’s exile, and, with it, my tale.

You may wonder, dear Reader, dear, unfathomable Reader, why I have undertaken this voyage, why a man of parts, of fine parts, I may say, and education, better than most, would hazard a crossing and that, in April, the most treacherous of months—showers sweet turn to tempests bitter—and, worse, on a galleon with no berth for a gentleman but a bunk not fit for a dog, not even my mastiff, Gulliver—and I, though six foot tall, his Lilliputian—who, despite my best efforts, splays himself, fleas
and all, atop my moth- ridden blanket, with me huddled under it, as if I were a city and he a great army, equipped with cauldrons of drool, besieging me. While you wonder why I wander, know this: run I must.

Aye, I would have stayed home if I could. If I could. Instead, each day the winds blow me farther from the dales and vales of Jamesons past, clan of clans, men among men, though, truth be told—and here, dear Reader, it will be told, and without ornament—our tartan is sold by the yard at Covent Garden to every shaver, ever striver, every waster with twopence in his pocket and a plan to marry a merry widow with ten thousand a year and an estate in Derbyshire, with horses, comely, and tenants, timely in their rents. Had I ever come across such a lady—let us call her the Widow Bountiful—I would have wooed her with sighs enough to heat a stone- cold bed- chamber in the dead of winter. Perhaps she waits for me, my Widow B., somewhere on the other side of this
wretched sea. Hark, she pants for me. Or, no, ’tis only Gulliver, giant cur.

As a man of both sense and sincerity, I admit, freely, and with that same unsparing candor which you must henceforth expect of me, that I leave behind little but debt. Twould be an even greater sorrow to leave Edinburgh, that nursery of enlightened genius, did not each degree of longitude stretch the distance betwixt me and my creditors, to whom I owe so much gold, and so little gratitude, the brothers McGreevy, with their Monday duns, Tuesday threats, and Wednesday bludgeons. Suffice to say: I sailed on a Thursday, a day too late, with the scars to show for
it. Departed, the Sea- Serpent, April 5, 1764.

Sterner men on stouter ships have crossed this vast and furious ocean, training their hopeful gaze upon the horizon; I, ever squeamish, scan only the depths and see naught but gloom. I would blind myself—and spare you the sight—but I find, as ever, that I cannot close my painter’s eye. Here the blue sloshes into green, and there, gray, and just here, as I lean over the gunwales, lo but the ocean becomes a rainbow of muck, a palette of putrefaction. The lurching, the To and the Fro, are my twin tormentors; and the sea, my sewer and my jailer.

Wheel of Fortune, pray, turn: let some young Bluebeard take the Sea-Serpent as his prize. Let his pirates throw me overboard. Let them haul me ’neath the keel and drown me. Sweet Jesus, just get me off this ship. Captain Pumble, a bulge- eyed, blotchy frog of a man, hops about the deck, uncloaked, even against the fearsome wind, as I, shivering, lean over the rails once again. He tells me that Boston will be temperate by the time we dock.

“Yar, ’twill be blooming in the city,” croaks he, clapping me on the back, as jolly as if we were sat in a tavern, instead of steering through a storm. “Ladies walking about without shawls. And a dandy, and a Scots gent, no less, will be most welcome by the lasses. Or is it the gents you
favor, Jameson?”

Between you and me, Reader: this Pumble has not entirely earned my affection.

“At the moment, Captain,” I manage to reply. “I favor deep pockets. Deep pockets, and solid ground.”

It is customary, at this point in a narrative of a gentleman’s adventures in the world, be he knave or rogue, to offer a pedigree. So be it.

The brown hound that whelped my Gulliver belonged to a butcher who cut meat for the Laird of Firth, a corpulent and stingy man—for I find that podginess and parsimony generally travel together—who claimed that his mastiffs were descended from the kennel of the Kubla Khan, brought West by Marco Polo, and on down, across the generations, to the court of Henry VIII and his bloody Mary, and thence to Scotland. In Firth, the Laird fed his dogs better than most gentlemen feed their valets. But the old miser—too cheap to pay for the meat—instead gave the butcher his best bitch, her belly swollen with pups who, once weaned, nearly ate the butcher out of his shop. Cheated and bested, he returned the litter to the Laird. Twas then came I to town, to paint a portrait of the Laird and his favorite dog, a beast as big as himself, with teeth a sailor might scrimshaw. The subject would have defeated even my friend Gainsborough. My portrait, a study in Venetian red, caught the Laird’s greed in his ruddy cheeks, his bleary eyes, his dog’s great maw. Alas, rarely does a man love his true self. Seeing his and his mascot’s likeness so well captured displeased this gentleman, who refused to pay the balance of my fee, instead tendering a black- and- white pup, the runt of the litter, though as tall at the withers as a lad of ten. And so was I saddled
with Gulliver, sired by gullibility, son of a butcher’s bitch.

A devil’s bargain, you might think, Reader: ’twas either the cur, or naught. Would you deny me the dog’s company? Surely my exile would be even lonelier had I forfeited my fee. And be forewarned: I have made worse bargains.

chap t e r 2

In Which Our Author Secures a
Situation in a City on a Hill

As Pumble navigated the Sea- Serpent through the harbor—I craving land more than poor, scurvy Magellan ever did, and Gulliver, galumphing about deck, in a frenzy of anticipation—we sailed past a
chain of small islands, perfect refuges for pirates.

“Are you quite sure we won’t run aground, Captain?” I ventured, for, though the day was clear and the water calm, we tacked perilous close to the isles.

“I could put you at the helm, if you like, Jameson. Got the sea in your blood, eh?” he smirked. But then he softened, slightly. “No, you sorry Scot. Rest easy. I won’t smash her to bits. Though this shallow harbor has wrecked many a ship, I don’t mind saying.”

“Shallow, Captain?” I asked nervously.

“Yar, she’s deep enough for the Sea- Serpent, but New York, where I’m bound, has deeper. Which is why that city builds banking houses, while this here Boston builds churches.” He nodded toward the town—cut against the sky, as if in silhouette—and pointed out the North Church, with its proud wooden spire, the tallest among a thicket of steeples. Prim, pious, and provincial. Trim, trim, and tidy, all.

“Ah, well then,” I answered, brightening. “Tis proved: a merchant measures his prospects by a port’s fathoms and not by its people’s piety, just as a whore measures a man’s parts by the bulge of his purse and not of his breeches.”

Pumble rewarded me with no more than a mincing smile.

Mark me, dear Reader: bidding my captain farewell will not break my heart.

Closer to shore, I spied people bustling about—along streets riddled with ruts and gutters of mud and manure whose stench reached us even before we docked—everyone hurrying, but at a trot and not a gallop. Here is no London, where men race as foxes chased by hounds. Here is
a place where, pray God, I can stand still.

I put on my hat, left my bags on board, and stepped ashore. Stumbling about the dock, my spirits soon improved, and my gut seemed to slow and finally halt its orbit round my middle. Along what is called the Long Wharf, I found a tavern, the Blue Herring, and I quaffed. Say I: there is fine beer here, brewed, I am told, by a man named Adams, in barrels built of the pine woods of New Hampshire. Steadied, fortified, I took a brief tour of the waterfront, and report, also, this: if there is nothing elevated and fine in the town of Boston, there is little to be found that is particularly unpleasant, save the restraint of the townspeople, who stare at strangers—even at a tall, brass- buttoned Scottish gentleman, and likelier than most—with a coldness that runs to cruelty.

I next made my way west along King Street, cluttered with shops, though whether this ambitious avenue is a credit to our third George in this, the fifth year of his reign, I could not claim. The trade seemed lackluster at best. Along a street called Corn- hill, I saw an utter desolation: the ruins of dwelling- houses, stores, and shops, burned in a fire that looked to have raged some winters ago, in a city too straitened to rebuild.

Just in front of a brick building called the Town House, which sits in the very middle of King Street, I found a spindle- shanked boy, no more than ten, peddling salted cod wrapped in old newspaper.

“I’m afraid I can’t stomach the fish, lad,” I said to him. “But be so good as to tell me where I might find fresher news than what’s printed in your wrappers.”

He directed me up an alley dubbed Crooked Lane—though all the streets here would equally well bear that name—to a dark, cluttered print shop whose stink made my eyes to tear ere I crossed the threshold. (My father had once wanted to apprentice me to an engraver, Reader, but I forswore the trade just as soon as I learned that every printer washes his plates in his own water. I would not toil in a piss- house.)

Behind the counter, tinkering with types, stood a man of about my own age, wise- eyed and wigless, his face as flat and round as the moon, his ginger hair tied back. From this gentleman, Mr. Benjamin Edes, I purchased a deck of cards, a map, and, for five shillings, a rather windy history of the
town, written by one Thomas Newcombe, wherein I have since read that Boston’s founder, a proper Puritan named John Winthrop, proclaimed to his followers in 1630, as they neared shore: “We shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with
our God, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world.”

Now, careful Reader, I ask you this: From such a lofty start, can any city do less than fall? Tis a small port, and charming enough. But it does not content itself with its smallness, its slack bustle, its less- thanprofound harbor. Nay, ’twould be Jerusalem. Here is a town that, by pretending to be more than it is, makes itself less. I had rather not draw an overhasty conclusion. But I have to wonder whether this is what hobbles Boston: its oversized ambition. The very opposite of what hobbles me.

While the printer tallied my items in his ledger, I picked up a copy of his twice- weekly newspaper, the Boston Gazette, and flipped to its back pages, filled with advertisements: “A fine Negro Male Child to be given away. It has been kept remote from the Small- Pox.” “To be SOLD: The very Best Vinegar for Pickles.” “RAN AWAY from his Master: A stout Irish servant.”

“Are you looking for something else, sir?” Edes asked.

“Aye. My bearings.”

“Just landed, I take it? If you don’t mind my saying, sir, you’re still a bit green about the gills.”

“Green’s an improvement, I assure you,” was my smiling reply. “Aye, I’m just in, from Edinburgh.”

“It’s as well you ain’t come from London, sir, else you’d bring bad tidings, sure.”

I gave him a puzzled expression.

“You wouldn’t have heard, sir, if you’ve been at sea these last two months. Parliament voted as you set sail, and the news washed up on our shores the day before you did. I’m just now setting the type to put it in Thursday’s edition. Bastards mean to tax us to pay for their war, what’s ended not a twelvemonth ago, with the French and the Indians. Tax our sugar, they will. Worse: we ain’t allowed to pay with our own paper money. Coin of the realm, it has to be. I ask you, sir, who has hard money in these hard times? And mind, they promise, next, to tax with stamps our every piece of paper!”

“I’m sorry to hear it,” I offered, and sincerely. I liked this plainspoken printer, and admired his argument, for the town looked poor enough already.

“Not so sorry as you’ll be when the shops start closing, for ain’t we struggling, after seven years of war? But I suppose I needn’t tell a Scotsman about English wars and English taxes.”

“Aye, that you don’t,” I agreed. “My grandfather fell at Culloden. But I trust you colonials will protest these measures. For as I always say, an empty stomach has a loud mouth.”

“Ain’t heard that one afore, sir, and ’tis true enough,” he said, flashing a smile. “But we won’t be laughing when the King sends over his redcoats, those lobsterbacked sons of bitches! Their fingers will be in our purses soon enough. There’s only so much a free people will bear, I tell you, and only so far the hand of tyranny can stretch, ere its reach exceeds its grasp.”

I shook my head, and pushed back my hat.

“Edes, your metaphors alarm me. Many’s the hand I would welcome in my pocket,” I said with a wink. “But not the hand of tyranny.”

Now did the printer laugh, easy, warm, and unrestrained.

“Say, Edes, do you get any Scottish papers here?”

“Indeed, sir. When traveling gentlemen bring them by. You’ll have no trouble hearing news from home. Old news, mind, but news just the same.”

Reader, this news of news is good and bad. Maybe I haven’t fled far enough.

From the Hardcover edition.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 12 of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Historical romance

    This book is part historical romance, part historical mystery set in the years before the American Revolution. It gets a little long-winded towards the end - the authors take a VERY long time unmasking the murderer - but it was enjoyable. The story is written as if the two main characters are telling the tale - Jameson addressing the unknown "Reader" and Fanny writing letters to her childhood friend. I'm wondering if each author consistantly wrote one character because the voices are very different. <BR/><BR/>Readers must be aware that the language feels a little stilted but accurate for the time period. It can get a little "earthy", also accurate for the time period. Most Revolutionary Era folks wouldn't use a multisyllabic word when one syllable would do. <BR/><BR/>The ARC version I received doesn't include a bibliography, but the reader is directed to a website the authors have created to explain which parts of the story are true and which are made up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 19, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    An absolute romp of a tale...

    Blindspot, just released from Spiegel and Grau, is an wonderful piece of historical fiction. Wonderful just isn't enough - it's ribald, witty, charming and oh, so much more.<BR/><BR/>Jane Kamensky and Jill Lepore are both renowned history professors. They've joined together to produce this novel.<BR/><BR/>Blindspot tells the tale of young Fanny Easton, a 'fallen' woman from a good family. She has been working in the Manufactory in Boston in 1764, barely surviving. When she spies an advertisement for an artist's apprentice, she sees a slim chance to escape her life of poverty. She disguises herself as a boy and applies to Stewart Jameson as Francis Weston. She does possess artistic ability and is taken on. Unbeknownst to her, Stewart Jameson has fled to the colonies from Scotland, where he is wanted for debt evasion. His debt was incurred trying to buy the freedom of his friend, the brilliant, black Dr. Alexander. Boston in 1764 is resisting the heavy hand of England and it's taxes. Slavery is an issue being hotly debated and political unrest is rampant. When a death (or could it be murder) occurs, the three are deeply involved.<BR/><BR/>Kamensky and Lepore have skillfully woven historical fact with literary license to create an engrossing, clever tale. It is told in alternating viewpoints. Jameson is writing his take on things to "Dear Reader"in his journal, while Fanny (Weston) is writing letters to a childhood friend. I was captured by the language and tone of the book - the puns, plays on words, language used and the social fabric of Boston in 1764. The depth of historical fact woven in adds to an already rich story. Blindspot is a love story as well. Some readers may be offended by some of the sexual scenes, but they are integral to the book.<BR/><BR/>The authors have created an excellent website for the book as well, providing further insight. Although the book is 500 pages long, it never flagged for me. The storyline was compelling right to the last page. However, I wonder if there will be a sequel? The ending has been left open for one. I hope so!<BR/><BR/>Fans of Emma Donoghue would enjoy this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2011

    An enjoyable read of historical pre-revolution era

    The book was a bit of a surprise that I quite enjoyed. It is set in boston a few years before the revolution and deals with slavery, class system, and hits on the limited choices single women have to survive. It is told in two voice through letters and a journal.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 16, 2009

    Blindspot makes History Interesting

    I enjoyed Blindspot very much as it incorporated several issues facing a young America in the 18th century. Included were the division in society and politics over the matter of remaining loyal to England and the King or becoming an independent nation, the rigid standard set for women of the era who were subservient to the whims and "authority" of fathers, husbands, sons or other male relatives, and the treatment of indentured servants and African slaves in Boston. Having studied art history in college, I found it very interesting how the author used art in the context of the story, especially in binding the two main characters together.

    Women posing as boys or men is an old story, but I thoroughly enjoyed Fanny/Francis. She was a woman who knew her own body, mind and talent and used them to full advantage.

    I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or just an entertaining story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2009

    This book is amazing, if you're into art and history.

    I would definitely recommend this book to friends. The plot sucks you in from page one!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 12 of 11 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)