Seven Locks

Written by Christine Wade
Review by John Kachuba

In 1769, after an argument with his wife, an angry farmer stalks off into the Catskill Mountains with his dog, Wolf, to go hunting. He is never seen again, leaving his wife alone to run their farm and raise their son and daughter. Neither task is easy, and both are complicated by the tongue-wagging ladies of the village as they speculate upon the fate of the missing husband. Did he simply run away from a shrewish wife? Had he taken up with another woman somewhere in another village? Did his wife murder him?

In time, the wife comes to accept the reality that her husband will not be returning to her. She struggles to understand and raise her children at a time when tension between the American colonies and the British Crown is rapidly approaching a boiling point. Once escalating events finally boil over into war, it still seems inconceivable that her bucolic mountain home would be affected by the war’s calamities. But affected it is, in violent and dramatic ways that utterly alter her life and that of her son and daughter.

Written from a feminine perspective, Seven Locks combines history with legend to provide a vivid illustration of what the American Revolution meant for the civilian population and for women in particular. It is an interesting look at a part of the wartime history that is often given short-shrift by historians focused on battles and military strategies.