“I, Roger Williams, once called passionate, precipitate, and divinely mad, New England’s gadfly, firebrand in the night, do slump upon the ground this day in late June of the most disastrous year of the my life, 1676, like a stove hulk.”
In this work of historical fiction, Mary Lee Settle attempts to present a portrait of the real-life founder of Rhode Island and defender of religious freedom, Roger Williams. Based on Williams’ own correspondence and historical records, Settle gives a voice to this seventeenth century American hero.
As a lover of history, I really appreciated Settle’s fine research and accounts of the struggles between the rights of man and king, and the rise of Puritanism in England and it’s effects on the New World. In addition, I loved her presentation of first person narrative. The eloquent writing style truly made you feel as if you were in the room with Williams telling his life story. That said, it was a slow read for me. I didn’t adapt to the writing style as easily as I do to Shakespeare, but the pace was the only downside for me. This was a remarkable and enjoyable book!
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2001