“Don’t love anything overmuch in the backcountry, for the land is a jealous mistress, and she be taking it away.”
Indentured servants do not fare well in the New World of 1748. Skinny, shivering, and lame, Julian fears for his prospects as he is inspected by buyers on the transport ship docked in Philadelphia. When his bond is purchased by the fur trader and former pirate, Bartholomew Bragg, his forebodings appear well-founded.
Julian grows into manhood in a violent world where Indian nations struggle to survive war, famine, and disease; settlers stake their lives and meager resources on disputed territory; traders dispense gunpowder, scalping knives, and rum; and bands of renegades murder and thieve free from lawful constraint.
In his travels into the Ohio country and his captivity by the Lenape, Julian learns the harsh realities of life and love on the frontier. In the end, surrounded by enemies and desperate to protect the woman he loves, the jealous land demands its sacrifice.
Average rating from 7 members
THE BRIDES OF THE GAUNTLET by James Short Julian Asher is a poor boy from the slums of London, he was a bright yet feeble boy. His mother has tried several times to get Julian apprenticed, but no one will take him since he looks sickly and is weak. He can read and write, which most of the poor in London in 1748 are unable to do, but there is not much call for a boy to use those skills in London. A chance encounter with a wagon brings Julian's hopes of a future of seafaring to an abrupt halt, as he heals from his injuries, he sees that though his mother is fully dedicated to him, her heart lies with Mr. Skylar, the owner of a haberdashery. Unwilling to become the stepson of Mr. Skylar, Julian runs away to become an indentured boy on a ship sailing to America. No one wants him there, either. His indenture papers are purchased by a somewhat unscrupulous fur trader and former pirate Bartholomew Bragg. Through Bragg's tutelage, Julian grows up in the harsh environment of the American frontier. Bragg comes across as harsh in most instances, but within his first moments of meeting Julian, he sets out to heal Julian from his disabilities that arose from his encounter with the wagon. Julian has to adapt and learn to live in the atrocious new world he has been thrust into and grows strong and healthy despite all that is done to him. Truly an adventurous novel of early America. Highly recommend. Much appreciation to #netgalley for the complimentary copy of #thebridesofthegauntlet I was under no obligation to post a review.
4 Solid Stars This is a period in Western history that I find particularly fascinating, from being ripe with horrors to the blossoming Enlightenment to the colonial dynamics between the French, English, and Dutch, to indigneous-settler relationships.... Naturally I loved this book from the out. This kind of has everything in it, making it--in my opinion--a semi-epic coming-of-age (in colonial America just prior to the French Indian Wars). It is turbulent and adventurous of a lovable main character, Julian, who is a whole host of condradictions: he is vulnerable and flawed, yet resilient and strong. Going on his journey with him was great. The secondary characters were all vibrant and intriguing, and the research was quite thorough; enough so to make this an immersive and three-dimensional read that was highly enjoyable. I would definitely recommend this for any lover of Historical Fiction, particularly if you like the 18th century, and/or colonial America... and of course love some high-seas ship life. Would definitely read more from James Short in the future if this is the sort of HF he writes. Thanks to #BooksGoSocial via NetGalley for this ARC of Brides of the Gauntlet, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
For the most part I enjoyed the historical part. Just not the violence. We could have done without the descriptive parts. Otherwise a job well done! Poor Julian! However; I loved his determination to make it even when life was trying it's hardest to get him. He didn't let it. Way to go Julian! His name is an unusual name too. I like it. (It was my grandpa's middle name.) I really couldn't read fast enough because I wanted to see how he handled what was thrown at him. I wasn't disappointed! I thank the man who taught Julian and took him under his wings so to speak. I love books like these because they offer hope and courage to us readers that are going through things in our lives as well. I'm giving this book 4 stars for the excellent writing and and the strong characters that are in the story. Especially the Indians. I like the cover of this book too. It gives me the feeling of much anticipation of what the book will be about. I recommend. My thanks for a copy of this book. I was NOT required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.
It was a great book and I enjoyed reading it. The storyline and characters were phenomenal. Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to read this book.