Imposters of Patriotism
Historical fiction is really two different genres. There are those books which are set in a former time period but which are purely fiction and have no connection to truly historical events. Historical fiction also includes a group of books that are woven from one or more significant events in history - those events not only form the backdrop for the story, but become an integral part of the story. "Imposters of Patriotism" is a part of this second sub-genre.
The year is 1778. George Washington and much of the Continental Army is stranded at Valley Forge waiting out a devastating winter. Watching his men suffer and die with inadequate provisions, deadly illnesses, and increasingly more difficult odds of defeating the British forces being led by General William Howe. General Washington, seeking what is best for his men and for the country, writes a letter to General Howe offering to negotiate a surrender. Due to circumstances beyond his control, General Washington's letter is never delivered. As unlikely as it seemed at the time, the Americans proceed to win the war and gain the independence they desired. The letter is all but forgotten.
Moving between the past and the present time, we follow the letter and its discovery, as well as collaborating documents, by an antiques dealer living in Savannah, GA. In the weeks following the letter's discovery, the lives of Matt Hawkins, the antiques dealer, and his friends are threatened by a number of individuals who have put their own interests above those of their country. "Imposters of Patriotism" follows the letter, through flashbacks, to its discovery and disclosure to the American public. In the process, it weaves a great deal of well-known history that adds considerable credibility to this exciting story.
The weaving of fiction and history works well - except for one small flaw. One major character is described as "the most direct descendant of George Washington." The problem is that George Washington had no known children of his own. He raised two of Martha's (a widow) children from her previous marriage and two of Martha's grandchildren, but with no children of his own, he had no "direct descendants". The author may have been better off describing this man as Washington's "closest living relative" and the problem would be solved.
The book was an exciting read - whether the history from the 18th century, glimpses of known events from the early 19th century, or following the lives of Matt Hawkins and his friends as they follow the evidence and their hearts. The book forced me to examine history that I had not previously known, I was introduced to places and people that gave me a deeper appreciation for the men and women who sacrificed for the freedom we still enjoy today. Along with a good mystery, this book should hold many a reader's attention. And get started soon, as the author has another volume arriving later this year.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.