Sunday, July 18, 2010

"Washington's Lady" by Nancy Moser

Title: Washington’s Lady
Author: Nancy Moser
Published: Bethany House, 2008
Where I Got It: Barnes & Noble
Why I Read It: I’ve heard that Martha Washington was a badass and wanted to find out for myself

Washington’s Lady takes a very interesting, yet fictional view, into the life of Martha Washington (1731-1802), George Washington’s wife. It begins right after the death of her first husband, Daniel Custis, and ends with the death of George (I’m going to add that this is one reason I love historical books: no spoilers. We all know that George Washington died. Gasp!) In between, we follow her through fifty years of her exciting and heroic life.

Two things stood out to me about Martha. The first was how brave she was. Being the wife of the much loved war general, she was widely respected and loved for being caring and generous. Soldiers practically worshipped her and begged to speak with or get a glimpse of her when she came to their camps. The wives of soldiers were awed by her, yet afraid to be her friend because of her greatness. She was treated as the future Queen of America (the first First Lady isn’t such a bad title either).

The second thing is that despite her selflessness and kindness, death followed her everywhere. Throughout the book, her mother, siblings, children, grandchildren, and husbands die. We of course know that family deaths are inevitable over a long period of time, yet I was still amazed at the number of deaths she had to deal with. To me, this only made her a stronger figure.

As good as the story was, the writing style really turned me off. I am not a fan of short, choppy sentences and this book is FULL of them. Example:
"I started to turn the knob...I stopped myself. I shook my head. No. I would not enter. Ever. Ever again."
Too many sentences start with And or But. However, the biggest no-no is the use of the most cliché phrase in the entire English language: "It was quiet. Too quiet." Yikes!

I applaud Nancy Moser on picking a very interesting figure to write about. She has also written books about Nannerl Mozart and Jane Austen. I would recommend
Washington’s Lady to get good, simplified background information on Martha Washington, her husband, and the American Revolution. I also gained infinitely more respect for the entire Washington family and the grounds on which our country was founded.
3 stars.

2 comments:

  1. I was loving the sound of this until the writing style part. I don't like those short sentences either . If I see it I might still read it for the history - I came across Martha briefly in New York by Edward Rutherfurd and her life was certainly an interesting one.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's a good book, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I felt it was written in a really young-adultish voice. Hard to believe when the narrator is a middle-aged woman most of the book.

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