Author, poet, and pastor William Thomas brings to life his colonial ancestor, John Thomas, in Virginia Gold. A gentle story suitable for all ages, this fictional biography begins with seventeen-year-old John Thomas’s departure for Jamestown as an indentured servant aboard the Sea Venture and ends thirteen years later with his establishment as a Virginia tobacco planter, the “gold” of the title.
From beginning to end, John’s faith in God is much tested. On route to the New World, he and his ship battle a fierce storm, only to be shipwrecked on the Devil’s Islands, i.e., the Bermudas. There, John’s friendship with Rachel Jones deepens, despite his promise to remain true to his Welsh sweetheart, Dorothy. Several mutinies later, John’s group finally disembarks at Jamestown. Despite their shipwreck, they were the lucky ones. Many settlers who landed the previous year either died during the winter or returned home. Indeed, all Jamestown colonists are ready to abandon their post when Lord Delaware arrives. Under him and succeeding governors, John, Rachel, and the others establish an English outpost in a hostile land. A servant no longer, John proposes to Rachel. However, fate intervenes, severely testing his faith and forging his destiny.
Virginia Gold holds the reader’s interest despite occasional anachronisms (references to German police dogs, etc.). More descriptive details would have been appreciated also. Still, Thomas has written a fitting tribute to his ancestor.