Monday, June 14, 2010

"The Rebellion of Jane Clarke"

Sally Gunning's books include The Widow's War and Bound.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her latest novel, The Rebellion of Jane Clarke, and reported the following:
On page 69 of The Rebellion of Jane Clarke you will find a scene set in a 1769 Boston bookstore where Jane Clarke meets bookseller Henry Knox. At first glimpse this page might appear as a diversion, where I explore some of the hideous literary offerings of the 18th century (Abducted women? Scandalous convents?) and hint at a potential relationship between Jane and Knox, but the scene also serves the larger plot. Near the end of the page Henry Knox quotes from John Locke, a philosopher who inspired Thomas Jefferson as he wrote the Declaration of Independence:
“Men being by nature free, equal and independent, no man can be put out of his estate and subjected to the political power of another without his own consent.”
As this book explores the conflicting impulses for and against independence, this page is certainly representative of it. It foreshadows the conflict within America in the years leading up to the Revolution, and hints at the conflict in Jane, whose loyalist father would very much disapprove of Mr. Knox.

Mr. Knox next confesses to Jane that he is also making a study of artillery. Knox, John Adams, and other famous figures that people the pages of this book accept the necessity of force in backing up an argument. But what of Jane Clarke? (Now I’m going to cheat. TURN THE PAGE. Do it by candlelight in the privacy of your room if you must, but Jane’s response deserves to be heard). At the top of the next page Jane says:
“I’d not have thought the words consent and artillery would make such compatible reading.”
Here is the heart of the conflict in the book and in Jane, and a hint of the struggle ahead in her relationship with her father and Knox, as well as with a key piece of American history – the Boston Massacre -- on which Jane leaves her own indelible mark.
Browse inside The Rebellion of Jane Clarke, and read the story behind the novel. Learn more about the author and her work at Sally Gunning's website.

The Page 69 Test: Bound.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue