Sunday, August 26, 2012

Jen Reads: The Orphanmaster by Jean Zimmerman

I have a slight fascination with colonial times so when I saw that The Orphanmaster by Jean Zimmerman was coming out I put it on my to be read list and read it, I did.

 

The book takes place in New Amsterdam, which is present day New York City, in 1663. It is a Dutch colony surrounded by English colonies. It is a prosperous place with a thriving merchant class. One of those merchants is a Dutch woman named Blandine von Couvering. She is an orphan building a trading business with the help of a very tall former black slave, Anthony Angola.

The English are vying to take over New Amsterdam. They send a spy who is to find the killers of Charles I after Oliver Cromwell is killed and Charles II has taken over the English throne so that they can be killed. Edmund Drummond  is a handsome aristocratic British spy.

Something has been killing orphans in New Amsterdam. Blandine, an orphan herself, is concerned and is working with the orphan master, Aet Visser, whose job it is to place orphans in households and farms in New Amsterdam.  The orphans have been stolen out of their home, taken from the African village of Angola and has the settlement on alert, talking of witiki, a cannibalistic beast in Native American lore. Drummond sees Blandine as he gets off of the boat and actively seeks her out. She seeks a friend to help her find an answer to the mystery.

This book does have some really taboo topics and can be quite gruesome. Some things go a little to well for the hero and heroines.  

I recommend this book if you love American history with a little romance and mystery.

Speaking of colonial times, I have walked past this memorial a lot but never stopped to look at what it said.

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In 1625, British Captain Wollaston established a trading post in 1625 across from:

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I did a little searching on the Captain and his partner in trading and there is a sordid story there full of debauchery and backstabbing. Fascinating that it happened in little old Quincy.

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