A Durable Fire

Virginia Bernhard, Author
Virginia Bernhard, Author William Morrow & Company $22.95 (412p) ISBN 978-0-688-08900-9
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
American history professor Bernhard has assembled a broad cast of characters for her fictional telling of the settlement of Jamestown. Temperance Yardley, whose husband has judged it prudent that they cross the Atlantic on separate ships, is widowed when a storm disrupts their convoy. Meg Worley, one of her companions, seeks her long-lost fiance who had helped found the Roanoke colony. Equally prominent are Powhatan and his warriors of the Potomac tribes, who find themselves at war with the foolish, squabbling, often violent English. Temperance survives the Starving Time and resettlement, only to be confronted with unresolved personal trials. Bernhard pens a complex tale of courage, treachery, cultural conflict, administrative bungling and desperate choices. She juggles the many stories well, and if at times the scholar overcomes the writer in matters of description, she nonetheless illuminates the vicissitudes of pioneer life in the Virginia colony. (Mar.)
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