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Washington's Shadow
Washington's Shadow

Washington's Shadow

FICTION

240 Pages, 6.0 x 9.0

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $15.95 (US $15.95) (CA $21.95)

Publication Date: October 2019

ISBN 9781642375640

Rights: WOR

Barbara McLennan (Oct 2019)

Price: $15.95
 
 

Overview

Jane Powell, daughter of Leven Powell, cares for her widowed mother while waiting for the return of her betrothed, George Morgan White Eyes, who disappeared out west.  Jane thinks George is dead, killed by agents of Thomas Jefferson.Jane's father fought with George Washington at Valley Forge and for his services received warrants for land in Ohio which he gave to his oldest son Billy. When Jane's two brothers visit their mother they find Billy who is being chased by thugs claiming his land. Billy tells them that George Morgan White Eyes is alive.Billy leaves for Winchester, where he meets George Morgan White Eyes and  fighters from Ohio. Billy's brother Cuthbert, mayor of Alexandria, sends militia to help, and his brother Burr, member of Virginia's General Assembly, goes to Winchester hoping to negotiate a settlement. Sally, Leven's widow, and her house servants anxiously send their grandchildren through the woods to Winchester to find news of Billy. These four teenagers, two boys and two girls, make it through the dark woods but survive attackers and are rescued by a mother bear. By the time all principals get near Winchester there are several hundred armed men ready to face each other in battle over the Ohio land.

Reviews

"In a cozy Virginian parlor in 1810, a widow, her daughter and two servants stare at a box containing letters from the Revolutionary War written by Col. Leven Powell, who had fought with George Washington at Valley Forge. Now, in the throes of grief after his passing, Powell's family struggles with how best to capture his legacy, piece together his story from the letters, and in the process define their own futures. In Washington's Shadow (Gatekeeper Press), author Barbara N. McLennan submerges readers into our nation's start like no history book ever could. At the forefront of McLennan's novel is the question of who controls Powell's story and how it gets told. Should his biography be written by sons Burr and Cuthbert Powell, both politicians? Perhaps, but they hand the project off to their sister, Jane, who enlists the help of the other women. Sally (Powell's widow), Jane and the free servants Nancy and Dorothy act as a chorus for the reader. Amid letters about Native American wars, smallpox and slave armies, the women amend Powell's words to account for the people most overlooked. In this way, McLennan expertly brings alive the Revolution by making the reader feel the immediacy of it. But amid all the domestic work of mending, cooking and feeding relatives, the women are weighed down by the task. After all, women were not at the front lines but at home keeping businesses running and their families from starving. McLennan's novel is uniquely meta-textual; just as we are shown transcripts of letters describing major battles in the war, we see the women's lives intersect behind the scenes. They know they are in the shadows of their husbands and that Col. Powell was in Washington's shadow, but that their loyalty and talents are just as crucial to the success of the young country. And when Jane's brother Billy is hunted down for debt by one of Thomas Jefferson's infamous hit men — the same who drove Aaron Burr out of the country — the past gets personal. Jane isn't just reminiscing about her father anymore, but trying to piece together how her father's involvement with Washington has made Billy a target. Sally's teenage grandkids are sent off to find Billy, following ancient Native American trails on their ponies and fighting back against thugs and thieves. It's not quite a road trip by today's criteria but just as riveting and atmospheric as the best of them. Reading Washington's Shadow is like being transported back in time and seeing a country where adventure and danger lurked at every turn. Part love story, political intrigue and coming of age novel, McLennan has created vibrant characters that will stay with readers long after the book ends. As Edward, a house servant, explains the significance of Jane as the primary storyteller, "Make believe she's Washington on his white horse. Show some respect."" —Lee Pelletier, Book Trib

"Washington's Shadow by Barbara McLennan Reviewed by Ann Skelton Barbara McLennan's latest historical fiction, Washington's Shadow, is set thirty years after the long winter at Valley Forge in 1778. In this story three generations of Powell children, gather to mourn the death of Leven Powel, the family patriarch and a devoted supporter of George Washington. Leven's adult children learn details of Leven's revolutionary war activities through documents found in a locked chest. Their sister Jane, trained as a teacher, agrees to write a biography of Leven culled from the documents. The family also learns that Washington rewarded his soldiers in the form of warrants to land in the sparsely settled state of Ohio. The value of those deeds has given rise to a scam by an unscrupulous corporation, one that does not blanch at the use of violence to swindle warrants from unsuspecting veterans. Leven Powell had passed his warrants to his eldest son Billy who is unaware of their value and of the danger he faces from the land-grab company. Alas, brother Billy is in imminent danger. Part II: Indian Country and Winchester. The story gains momentum in this section as the family determines to find Billy and warn him of danger. The cast of characters widens, and action accelerates as the Lenape Indian, George Morgan White Eyes, Billy's siblings, and four of the teen-age grandchildren mobilize to find and protect Billy. Gun-toting teens along with a mule, a dog and the necessary ammunition set out on a short cut through dense Virginia woods to warn their uncle Billy of the danger he faces. The fast-paced section replete with mishaps, challenges, as well as mild quarrels among the teen aged adventurers also features an unlikely hero in the form of a huge black bear, a bear that can discern the good-guys from evildoers. Readers will not be disappointed with the drama in the woods which includes an armed battle with local militia. Part III, Middleburg and Alexandria This final section brings the characters back together in an effective wrap-up to the action. The main characters discuss not only the adventure that ended in success for Billy and the Powell family but the principles espoused by Washington that also motivated this revolutionary family. The characters' lives are neatly tied up as they reconnect after all the smoke and excitement of the conflict has settled. Though McLennan imagines gun-toting teenagers and heroic wildlife, she does not take liberties with history. We hear about the Lenape Indians; we learn that even after the Revolution is over and the English departed, not all Americans supported a strong central government. We see political turmoil surrounding Jefferson's battle to win an electoral college victory; as well as President Jefferson's political maneuvers against Aaron Burr and Burr's subsequent trial and acquittal. Through it all George Washington's long shadow is cast on later generations even to our own. His belief in truth, justice and equality for all still casts a long shadow into this generation." —Ann Skelton, Chesapeake Style Magazine

"In a cozy Virginian parlor in 1810, a widow, her daughter and two servants stare at a box containing letters from the Revolutionary War written by Col. Leven Powell, who had fought with George Washington at Valley Forge. Now, in the throes of grief after his passing, Powell's family struggles with how best to capture his legacy, piece together his story from the letters, and in the process define their own futures. In Washington's Shadow (Gatekeeper Press), author Barbara N. McLennan submerges readers into our nation's start like no history book ever could. At the forefront of McLennan's novel is the question of who controls Powell's story and how it gets told. Should his biography be written by sons Burr and Cuthbert Powell, both politicians? Perhaps, but they hand the project off to their sister, Jane, who enlists the help of the other women. Sally (Powell's widow), Jane and the free servants Nancy and Dorothy act as a chorus for the reader. Amid letters about Native American wars, smallpox and slave armies, the women amend Powell's words to account for the people most overlooked. In this way, McLennan expertly brings alive the Revolution by making the reader feel the immediacy of it. But amid all the domestic work of mending, cooking and feeding relatives, the women are weighed down by the task. After all, women were not at the front lines but at home keeping businesses running and their families from starving. McLennan's novel is uniquely meta-textual; just as we are shown transcripts of letters describing major battles in the war, we see the women's lives intersect behind the scenes. They know they are in the shadows of their husbands and that Col. Powell was in Washington's shadow, but that their loyalty and talents are just as crucial to the success of the young country. And when Jane's brother Billy is hunted down for debt by one of Thomas Jefferson's infamous hit men — the same who drove Aaron Burr out of the country — the past gets personal. Jane isn't just reminiscing about her father anymore, but trying to piece together how her father's involvement with Washington has made Billy a target. Sally's teenage grandkids are sent off to find Billy, following ancient Native American trails on their ponies and fighting back against thugs and thieves. It's not quite a road trip by today's criteria but just as riveting and atmospheric as the best of them. Reading Washington's Shadow is like being transported back in time and seeing a country where adventure and danger lurked at every turn. Part love story, political intrigue and coming of age novel, McLennan has created vibrant characters that will stay with readers long after the book ends. As Edward, a house servant, explains the significance of Jane as the primary storyteller, "Make believe she's Washington on his white horse. Show some respect." —Lee Pelletier, Book Trib

"In a cozy Virginian parlor in 1810, a widow, her daughter and two servants stare at a box containing letters from the Revolutionary War written by Col. Leven Powell, who had fought with George Washington at Valley Forge. Now, in the throes of grief after his passing, Powell's family struggles with how best to capture his legacy, piece together his story from the letters, and in the process define their own futures. Reading Washington's Shadow (our review) by Barbara McLennan is like being transported back in time and seeing a country where adventure and danger lurk at every turn. Part love story, political intrigue and coming of age novel, McLennan has created vibrant characters that will stay with readers long after the book ends." —Jim Alkon, Booktrib

Author Biography

Barbara McLennan has published eight books and numerous  articles on various political, economic, and historical subjects. For two years she contributed columns and articles on local customs and local history to NorthernNeck.com, a local online newspaper serving the Rappahannock region of Virginia.Holding both Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin, Madison) and J.D. (Georgetown) degrees, Barbara McLennan is a former professor, association executive and high level official in the United States Departments of Commerce and Treasury. Over the last several years, she has served as docent at Jamestown Settlement, and at Historic Jamestown. She also has assisted the historian in preparation for exhibits at the new museum of the American Revolution at Yorktown.Dr. McLennan has taught in the Thomas Jefferson School of Public Policy, The College of William and Mary. She also has been a Visiting Scholar at William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business, in the MBA program. She has held a commission as member of the Governor of Virginia's Asian Advisory Board on trade and investment and is a Board Member of the Chesapeake Bay Writers Organization.