Temperance Flowerdew came to Jamestown Colony in 1609 and married Virginia's first two Governors, but her life was not recorded. Denise Heinze imagines her world, from surviving the hurricane that nearly wrecked her transatlantic fleet to living a warm family life in harsh conditions. It's a convincing portrait of a strong and optimistic person determined to report for posterity what a woman of her time could not actually write or say. The novel is dedicated to "all the women gone missing from history." Heinze uses period language and well researched details to get the right tone and character voices, making me feel the gravity of a new colony holding off disaster. Temperance may well have been this extraordinary woman of faith who fought to establish a king’s colonial foothold and must hope her children will make amends for her purchase and profitable use of Africans. Still, I can believe that she may also have seen the Powhatan people as more than savage and that she perhaps even stood toe-to-toe with a man like John Smith!— Tim McCarthy
Determined to set the historical record straight, and clear her conscience, Temperance Flowerdew--the wife of Virginia's first two governors--puts quill to paper, recounting the hardships that nearly brought the Jamestown colony to its knees, and the extraordinary sacrifice of her servant girl, Lily.
When she steps aboard the Falcon in 1609, Temperance Flowerdew is not only setting sail from England to the distant shores of America, she's embarking upon a future of opportunity. She doesn't yet know how she will make her mark, but in this new place she can do or be whatever she wants.
Willing as she is to brave this new world, Temperance is utterly ill-equipped to survive the wilderness; all she knows is how to live inside the pages of adventure and philosophy books. Loyally at her side, Lily helps Temperance weather pioneer life. A young woman running from lifelong accusations of witchcraft, Lily finds friendship with Temperance and an acceptance of her psychic gifts. Together, they forge paths within the community: Temperance attempts to advise the makeshift government, while Lily experiences the blossoming of first love.
But as the harsh winter approaches, Lily intuitively senses a darkness creep over the colony and the veneer of civilized life threatens to fall away--negotiations with the Indians grow increasingly hostile and provisions become scarce. Lily struggles to keep food on the table by foraging in the woods and being resourceful. Famine could mean the end of days. It's up to Lily to save them both, but what sacrifice will be enough to survive?
A transporting and evocative story, The Brief and True Report of Temperance Flowerdew is 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.