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The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew

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A great novel of a time period I usually do not pick up a novel to read for. Temperance Flowerdew is a fascinating, strong character and it is great to read this interpretation of Jamestown and the colonies.
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Temperance Flowerdew left England for the colonies, not knowing what to expect. As the wife of Jamestown's first governor, the pioneer life is foreign to her, especially the brutal winter of 1609-1610. With the help of Lily, her resourceful maid, she finds her place in this difficult new world.
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This was a quite read, but was packed with powerful characters and a story that I couldn't stop reading about. I'm always a fan of historical fiction, and I love this time period, so I was easily intrigued by this book. I liked the message that women's stories are important and shouldn't just be lost to time. 

This story has truly made it clear to me that I am not made of tough enough stuff to have survived what these early settlers survived. I am thankful for what they did so that I did not have to!

I was provided a gifted copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.
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An enjoyable read with a strong sense of time via author Denise Heinze’s language choices and colorful imagery.  I especially appreciated the author’s dedication to portraying the relationship between the colonists and Native Americans as accurately as possible – not an easy feat in today’s politically-charged social atmosphere.  Heinze doesn’t quite avoid, however, allowing modern-day feminist viewpoints from creeping into the story.

Our main character, Temperance, and her hired maid servant, Lily, are likable characters with a relationship that goes beyond that of employer-employee.  As they venture to, and endure the New World, they form a steady friendship and reliance on each other for companionship, and indeed, survival itself.  The novel begins with a middle-aged Temperance looking back over her life and determined to tell the tale of what actually occurred at Jamestown in that first year that has been dubbed “The Starving Time”.  Conditions were both primitive and harsh – over three-quarters of the settlers in Jamestown did not survive the first year.  The tale gives us a brief glimpse of what America’s early pioneers endured to carve out a new life for themselves in the New World.

If you haven’t guessed already, Temperance Flowerdew is an ambitious piece of historical fiction.  Historical fiction comes in many varieties: Some novels are simply set in historical time periods – the kinds of novels that, right or wrong, aren’t going for accuracy, but for mood.  Others strive for absolute spot-on historical fact – as much as humanely possible – and then fill in the blanks in the record in order to make a cohesive storyline.  I would say that The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew falls somewhere in between the two, leaning toward the latter.

I am one who enjoys more of the historical than the fiction part of historical fiction.  Accordingly, I checked out the sources listed in the novel’s Acknowledgments end notes before I read the tale, and was pleased that they appeared to be legitimate and reliable works.  However, as I read the novel, I was struck that there were several major story components that seemed pretty loose with the facts.  The first of which is that Temperance travels by herself, with only a hired maid, on the ship from Europe to America.  While I’m not a historical expert on the time period, I do find it highly unlikely that a woman, even accompanied by a paid servant, would make that kind of trip alone.  Also, the storyline holds that Temperance’s sweetheart, George, was on another ship in the grouping that sailed for America, rather than Temperance traveling with her first husband, Richard Barrow, as the actual historical record outlines.  Perhaps this is the case of author’s license whereby Heinze combined two of the characters for simpler storytelling.  The George referred to the story is George Yeardley, Temperance’s second husband, whom she married in 1618, nine years after Temperance arrived in Jamestown.  The other major questionable plot point I won’t mention so as not to ruin the story for you, yet which may be the crux of the research that Heinze put into Temperance Flowerdew.  Be assured, however, that Temperance was a real, living person who left her mark in some of America’s earliest, historical records.

While I can’t say that Temperance Flowerdew was a novel I loved, it was fairly good and I did enjoy myself while reading it.  Recommended for fans of historical fiction who don’t mind a bit of revisionist history.

A big thank you to Denise Heinze, Blackstone Publishing, and NetGalley for providing a free Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for this honest review.

The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew published September 29, 2020 and is available from Blackstone Publishing in Hardback, Kindle, and Audible Audio.  Please consider purchasing from – the online bookstore that gives away 75% of the book’s profit margin to support indie bookstores.  (Note: Desiree does receive a small commission should you purchase through this link, however, she shares this out of her enduring love for corner bookstores everywhere, rather than for any profit.)

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This was such a beautiful story of American history! I felt like the historical aspect of it was well researched, the characters were delightful, and I could really feel the hardships of these women as they navigated this new landscape!

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One of the best re-telling of living in Jamestown during the early years. The excitement and anticipation of venturing to the “New World” crashes on the shores of a settlement facing deprivations and eventual starvation.  How the settlers survived a harsh winter in spite of ongoing loss and grief is told in such vivid language.  Having visited Jamestown quite a few times this part of its history is rarely recounted as more than a “starving winter”. 
The social expectations of class/sex that followed the settlers from England, the greed and cruelty of fellow Englishmen leaving them without the supplies they brought, and conflicts that have occurred with the Nations already living there are not shied away from in this story.  It’s still filled with love, hope and great sacrifices.  The historical facts and persons represented are both well researched and recounted very well.  I will definitely be re-reading this book and looking for it on Audible books.  The main story of two women’s love and loyalty and ultimate sacrifice broke my heart—but the hope held within it shows that Hope can triumph in the midst of horrendous tragedy.  I highly recommend this book. I asked for a review from #NetGalley and am writing an honest review.  #TheBriefandTrueReportofTemperanceFlowerdew
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THE BRIEF AND TRUE REPORT OF TEMPERANCE FLOWERDEW was a dry read and was difficult for me to get into. There were many characters but we only scratched the surface on them including the main characters of Temperance and her maid, Lily. Lily was thought to be a witch based on her visions and how her hair would turn red in spots when she saw or felt something. She was knowledgeable about life, foraging for food, cooking, cleaning and other menial jobs that Temperance took for granted.

The story begins in 1628 where it also ends but in between the story is set in 1609 in England before crossing by boat to Jamestown in Virginia where the majority of the story is told. There we learn of their hardships both on the sea and once housed in the fort. There is not enough food or crops for all that live there and we learn of their hardships but also their struggles with several Indian tribes. There was a lot of attention to detail of the scenery and the ways they lived but it was all on the surface. We never delved deep into the story of why things happened. There was a lot of darkness and tragedy that had me with tears in my eyes since I could feel their pain and misery. Temperance tended to be outspoken and was ultimately married to the first two governors of Virginia. One was a love match while the other was expected of her. Throughout she wrote her report of how she saw things in the settlement but there wasn’t the closure I expected regarding it or her life since she seemed to be in pain and living under a dark cloud.

The story was choppy at times but then would have parts that flowed smoothly. The story ended too abruptly when there seemed to be more story to tell. The book is set during one of my favorite periods of history and at times it felt like I was reading a textbook and not a novel.

This is Ms. Heinze first novel of historical fiction. I’d be interested to see what else she writes in this genre and if it has more what I’m looking for in a novel.
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Reviewed for blog tour at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

I couldn’t wait to dive into this, I was loved the eye-catching, yet simplistic cover and was intrigued by the title – I love the name Temperance Flowerdew, isn’t it marvellous? I loved the bond and close friendship between Temperance and Lily, they are both women far from home and having to survive some of the harshest of environments, with so much hanging over their heads.
I thoroughly enjoyed getting to Temperance, and learning about what life was like then in such a difficult time and place, how harsh and hostile just day to day living was, is very striking and eye-opening. This actually reminds me of one of my recently discovered new favourite boxsets; Jamestown, a lot of what Temperance must live through and what she and Lily experience is very alike to what occurs in the show, so if you love that series then I can guarantee you will love this book.
I loved that this book is all about the women, this is Temperance and Lily’s story, this is their experiences, their harsh realities. They are both incredible women, Lily has a black mark against her having been tainted with the rumour of Witchcraft – as we all know women labelled a Witch were brutalised and treated horrifically – Lily is a smart and loyal friend, she helps the more lady-like and gentle Temperance and soon they are warily treading the path in a new life. Temperance is a calming figure in a frosty community, she has determination and great dignity she soon entangles her self in with the local government.
This is a wonderful and inspirational story of survival, love, honour, friendship, loyalty and the fight for freedom. The characters are marvellously crafted, they show the true cost of trying to find a new life, the two women battle darkness to find the light with bravery and courage.
The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew is a blinding, evocative and beautifully written tale of freedom, truth and hardship, it’s a book which gives a fresh new voice to a period in history that isn’t as well voiced as other times.
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The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew REVIEW
As a quick reminder, here is my rating structure:

1 star: Did not finish
2 Stars: Finished but I do not recommend
3 Stars: Liked but could use some improvements
4 Stars: Loved this book!
5 Stars: Rare. The unput-down-able, binge read obsession.
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My Thoughts About The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew
The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew is a historical fiction novel about the Jamestown settlement and a real life historical figure we’ve never heard of named, Temperance Flowerdew.

This book serves as a stark reminder of the forgotten sacrifices of so many women throughout history. They seem to only cling to the edges of our history lessons, when in reality, they were the life giving, backbone of most stories.

With its slightly paranormal elements, TBATROTF is a phenomenally well written account from many different angles of the “starving time,” a winter in which the English inhabitants of Jamestown were reduced from 500 to about 60, temperance being one of the survivors.

The best part about this book was the writing style. While focusing mostly on Temperance and her maid Lily, intermittently the POV would shift to a different character, if only briefly to tell that person’s story or to give vital information.

The result of that chapter would give glimpses of how others actions, lives, and deaths affected Temperance and Lily. While at times disorienting to begin a new chapter in the thoughts of a stranger, I would almost always be in wonder as their particular story reached its end.

It’s an original way to approach a story and allowed the reader to see what was happening from all different perspectives.

This is a quick read, at less than 200 pages. Perfect for this fall weather, as darkness seems to loom throughout the book like an impending storm. October reading at its best.

not a fan of…
I really wish the book had been longer. I wanted to understand more of what happened, but I understand that there just isn’t a lot of source material to reference because women’s lives and accomplishments simply weren’t recorded. The book could have been expanded if we talked about Temperance’s husbands and brothers, since their records were left behind, but that ignores the premise of the book.

This is Temperance writing to give Lily a voice because she recognizes that even though she, herself, will be given a very minute amount of historical consideration, Lily will be given none.
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First and foremost, I would like to thank Netgalley, Ms. Heinz, and the publisher for allowing me to review this book. 

When I first read the synopsis for this book I was very excited. I love reading about early America, especially the first settlements. Though I will say I enjoyed the book and the couple of surprises hidden inside, I feel there should have a great deal more content. 

The story is the that of Temperance Flowerdew, a real settler to the colony of Jamestown who survived that terrible winter. Though the title leads the reader to believe the story is about Temperance’s life and experiences, we only see her during this brief time period that is looking back on, and at Christmas time when she is writing her account, and there is not much going on in her life. 

The author does however give us alternate story lines from the surrounding characters; Lily and James, Mr. and Mrs. Collins, Pocahontas and the Powhatan tribe, John Smith and the governors that followed him, but there is no real depth to any of them. Each conflict is mentioned early on in the book, once or twice for a brief moment in the middle and then all to quickly resolved at the end. 

For example: I thought the story of Lily alone would have been a great alternate voice to that of Temperance, being that she is of a different social group and has the ability of foresight. I feel it would have been a great story to explore her past and what exactly brought her into Temperance’s life. Adding James to the story was great but he is not seen again once Lily gets mad at him and then near the end of the book they see each other and all is fine. I feel a lot more tension could have been added here. 

For Temperance, throughout the story she is known to be different; a woman who is bold, who doesn’t necessarily always choose to follow social norms but we don’t know why she is that way. What made Temperance so special? So strong-willed? So determined? Why did she pine after George? Why was he so special? The reader knows he challenged her that she wouldn’t survive in the new world but why does that suddenly endear him to her? I feel the author should have given us more of their relationship before they sailed. 

For Mr. and Mrs. Collins, this would have been an amazing story line! If we had met Mr. Collins and his wife early on and actually been witness to his gradual decline, seen more of the abuse his wife was suffering before she disappeared. This really could have shed light on the desperation of the situation the settlers were in that winter. 

For John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Powhatan tribe, I believe Temperance is writing about Pocahontas and says that wasn’t even her real name and states the story about Pocahontas wasn’t really how it was. I feel like this would have been a great time for some myth busting, and to show the truth about the relationship between the Powhatans and the settlers, instead of glorified romance that has been passed down. 

Don’t get me wrong, what there was of the book was good. I just feel there was so much untapped potential within.
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This is the first book I read that surrounds the Jamestown settlement, and it fascinated me.

The author writes the story in a nice manner where few passages are in the form of journal entries of Temperance. She also switches the focus from Temperance to other members of the settlement. At times, we also get the perspective from the natives. There are many moments that stand out in the story. Some of the scenes are packed with action, like the siege where the settlers get attacked. I was at the edge of my seat when Lily traps Bruce with the mushrooms after the way he treats her.  I also enjoyed some storylines, like the one between Henry and Priscilla.

Temperance is nice in the lead, where we see her adjusting to the new life. I loved her friendship with Lily. In fact, to me Lily was the highlight of the story. She received strange premonitions and few consider her a witch in the tale. We also get appearances from the famous people during this time, like John Smith and Pocahontas. Cord, Percy, and Nancy were also memorable characters in the supporting role.

At times, the story is so raw and heart-wrenching that it is difficult to digest. What starts as a dream, turns into a nightmare for many as they starve for food.  The author does not shy away from some of the horrors that the inhabitants had to resort to for food and shelter. I feel like I learnt a lot about the timeline after reading the book.

Overall, this was a gripping tale about survival, endurance and faith and I liked it.
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The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew has won my affection in so many ways. I am having trouble describing why I am so intrigued by this account of the original Jamestown colony. Yes, it is based on historical fact - I learned so much and was compelled to look up even more about some of the events. Yes, the point of view is unique because it is a female main character and so much of our nations early history has been recorded by men.  But I really must fall back on the realistic and accurate descriptions in the rich writing that made me feel all the sights and fears surrounding the new world for Miss Flowerdew and her maid Lily.  I was compelled to discuss some of the instances described with my friends and family.  This book will leave you thinking, I highly recommend it.  I received an ARC of this book, all opinions are my own.
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First of all, I want to say I would be a horrible pioneer. I would have been on the first shop back to England. That hardship holds no appeal to me. My hat is off to these early pioneers.  Jamestown has always been particularly interesting to me as there is so little knowledge about what happened there. This settlement didn't make it.

  Temperance Flowerdew's version of what happened certainly could have happened. It actually makes perfect sense and those actions have taken place in other times. The important thing about Temperance's message is the story of women gets lost. No one writes them down, no one remembers, no one acknowledges how important their stories are, they are just lost in time. 

  That's the most important thing to get out of this book is that the roles women played in our history are valuable and should be remembered. The U.S. never would have colonized without the help and support of women. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
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As an Australian with little knowledge of America's early history, I found this fictional account of Temperance Flowerdew and her early days in Jamestown quite fascinating.

The eventual wife of two Governors of Virgina, Temperance arrived in Jamestown in May 1609 as part of the third supply mission to the new colony. The winter of 1609-10 was a particularly brutal one and the influx of new settlers put strains on the stores of food put by for the winter. Explorer and colony leader John Smith was sent back to England with a severely wounded leg just before winter and the local Indians, the Powhatan had become alarmed at the increase in the colony's population and tired of the colonists stealing the corn the tribe would need to get them through the winter. A combination of Indian raids and siege and poor management and planning would result in starvation and death of over eighty percent of the Jamestown population of five hundred.

This is the fictional account of how Temperance arrived in Jamestown and survived that winter to go on to become the wife of two Governors, give birth to three children and eventually become a very wealthy woman. It's written the form of a report by Temperance for her children, not long before she died at the age of 38. It's always interesting to see history written from a woman's perspective where the small things that make up day to day life and survival are just as important as the bigger picture. Temperance is a strong clever woman but her upbringing as a lady made her ill-prepared for the hard physical environment of the new colony. In the novel, she has fortunately made a good choice in Lily, the maid she brought out with her from England. Despite her youth, Lily is both intrepid and resourceful and together they form a strong bond that sustains them through some tough times. It's an intriguing and moving read and one I recommend if you're interested in this era of history.
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This is a haunting, gritty, raw telling of what really happened to early settlers in Jamestown. This story is told thru the eyes of a smart, bookish woman who traveled to a new land seeking adventure and freedom of speech. She and the other participants get more than they bargained for, disease, food shortage, and surprising gifts of food from Chief Powhatan which helped the English survive. By late 1609 relationships between the Powhatan Indians and English had soured. As the English demanded too much food during a drought. At that point, the English were desperate and open to eating anything, various animals, leather from shoes etc. The author delves into some of this through her main characters Temperance Flowerdew, who was the wife of Virginia’s first two governors. The author also shows the real relationship between Pocahontas and John Smith not like the one Disney portrayed.

Temperance sets out to write about the good, the bad and the ugly. She hopes to give a well-rounded picture of what really happened in Jamestown. She shares from an aching heart the hardships, heartache, as she introduces, Lily, her extraordinary servant girl who took on the mission of keeping Temperance Flowerdew alive.

Lily gladly gave sacrificially to her Lady and helped Temperance navigate wildlife, even though Temperance would rather starve than catch something to eat. Here is what she says, “…”Rather than become proficient in the particulars of self-sufficiency, for which she had no aptitude, she opted to in verge her way into Jamestown governance. She had no experience, except second hand, through her exhaustive ready on such matters. She was as eager to enact her municipal plans as Lily was her domestic ones. Lily, she surmised could procure a king’s ransom for the two of them, but it would make little difference if Jamestown collapsed in mayhem.”
Lily thrives in gathering food and helping others get well and stay well. Lily finds her first love and stays loyal to Temperance. These two strong, resourceful women choose to live out their dreams. No matter how hard the task. They are hopeful in their search for freedom.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
The Book Club Network blog
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The story although sad bring the harsh times to light and I was fascinated but really didn’t care for the execution of the story telling, Several times I found myself flipping back thinking “oh wait, who is this again” only to realize this person had not been mentioned previously and now is not front and center in this paragraph then not mentioned again for pages. I often felt I was missing pages. Thank you publisher and netgalley for this arc in exchange of an honest review..
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Temperance is the wife of one of Virginias first governors. Through this narrative she relays and account of her life during that time. She is from England and she arrived on a ship in 1609 to the infamous Jamestown. Here she befriends several strangers including that of Lily, who some might call a witch. Lily succumbs to psychic episodes and is able to tell Temperance of the harsh winter they are going to have. Between the weather, Native Americans and lack of food, it illustrates the bravery these women have during what is known as today as the Starving Time.

I will say this was kind of hard for me to get into. Whether it be the language or the time period. It is a wonderful topic however, a fascinating time period for women. How ill prepared settlers were for harsh climates, and how their interactions with Native Americans went. While all of this makes for a good story, I just couldn't get into it.

Rate: 3.5/5


Author: Denise Heinze
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I received this from

"A fiercely hopeful novel-a portrait of two intrepid women who choose to live out their dreams of a future more free than the past." A story of hope and terrible tragedy, it's incredible what these people endured - and died for - so that a colony would be established in America.

The characters were dynamic and well versed. Reading about their daily life and their moment-by-moment struggle just to survive was inspiring. I found this an interesting and very readable story.

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I’m always drawn to stories set in Jamestown during its early years because of having ancestors that settled there in the 1630’s.  Luckily, my ancestors arrived after the “starving time” during the early days of pioneer life.  

For some reason, I had the impression that this story was going to focus on Lily’s psychic abilities, but instead her abilities were more of a backdrop against the more serious issue of starvation and the threats of Indian attacks.

I didn’t feel as if I got to know Temperance well enough, but I liked the story and how Temperance felt that Lily was important  enough to have a historical account of her life on record.

There were a few things that I felt the author could have expanded upon, but overall this was a nice historical fiction debut.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for allowing me to read an advance copy and give my honest review.
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Well written novel about the Jamestown settlement and a woman Temperance Flowerdew  .So interesting to go back in a time in our history.We are introduced to the people who struggled for survival there’.Really interesting read the characters come alive.# netgalley#blackstone publishing
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