My Name is Resolute
Turner’s engrossing novels always present hardy, intelligent women who endure challenging historical circumstances, and her fifth book is no exception. As Resolute Catherine Eugenia Talbot spins the tale of her long, eventful life, the story zips along merrily while providing superb attention to detail. It is entrenched in its era – the tumultuous decades leading up to the American Revolution – and lets readers experience the ever-changing scenes alongside the heroine: her terrifying time belowdecks on a pirate ship; her degrading years of slavery to a Puritan family; the thoughtful pride she takes in her handicrafts as she secretly works for the patriot cause. And much more.
In 1729, Resolute and her siblings are torn from their British parents’ Jamaican plantation by Saracen pirates. Only ten, she doesn’t see how her older sister, Patience, protects her innocence. Resolute, “Patey,” and their brother, August, are separated and reunite multiple times, their futures determined by their fates on this forced voyage. As a child, she is feisty yet occasionally naïve; as an adult, she is resourceful and devoted to her loved ones.
Resolute’s perspective matures over time, and she learns from both others’ cruelty and kind treatment. Among the best advice comes from a barmy Scottish widow who helps her when she’s left alone in Lexington, Massachusetts: “You must ha’e a boon… a means to go on if all comes to fail. A woman is a fool that lives from penny to farthing and n’er looks to the possibility of loss.” As Resolute settles into her new American identity, she discovers how to ensure her own livelihood – and teaches others the same.
Although fictional, Resolute represents the diverse women whose strength was woven into the fabric of early America. Full of adventure, romance, and unexpected surprises, her account remains captivating throughout its nearly 600 pages. What a fabulous story; what an inspiring life!