Cover image for Shadowbrook : a novel of love and war, and the birth of America
Shadowbrook : a novel of love and war, and the birth of America
Swerling, Beverly.
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Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [2004]

Physical Description:
490 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
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A sweeping tale of love, ambition, and a war that ignited a revolution... 1754. In a low-lying glen in Ohio Country, where both the French and English claim dominion, the first musket ball fired signals the start of a savage seven-year conflict destined to dismantle France's overreaching empire and pave the way for the American Revolution. In a world on the brink of astonishing change are Quentin Hale, the fearless gentleman-turned-scout, fighting to preserve his beloved family plantation, Shadowbrook; Cormac Shea, the part-Irish, part-Indian woodsman with a foot in both worlds; and the beautiful Nicole Crane, who, struggling to reconcile her love for Hale and her calling to the convent, becomes a pawn in the British quest for territory. Moving between the longhouses of the Iroquois and Shadowbrook's elegant rooms, the frontier's virgin forests and the cobbled streets of Québec, Swerling weaves a tale of passion and intrigue, faith and devotion, courage and betrayal. Peopled with a cast of unforgettable characters and historical figures, including a young George Washington, this richly textured novel vividly captures the conflict that opened the eighteenth century and ignited our nation's quest for independence. A classic in the making, Shadowbrook is a page-turning tale of ambition, war, and the transforming power of both love and duty.

Author Notes

Beverly Swerling is a writer, consultant, & avid amateur historian. She lives in New York City with her husband.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

After her success in vividly detailing colonial New York in City of Dreams (2001) , Swerling turns her attention to mid-eighteenth-century Ohio, where the French and Indian War inflames passions and sparks intrigue in the inhabitants of this richly fertile region. At the center of the story are Quentin Hale, the rebellious younger son of the prosperous Shadowbrook plantation, and Cormac Shea, the son of a Potowatomi woman and an Irish fur trader. Raised together on the plantation, Quent and Corm are caught up in the ever-growing hostilities between the English and\b the French. Underscoring the dramatic tension and fast-paced action is the blood feud brewing between the Shadowbrook heirs and the tender love story evolving between Quentin and Nicole Crane, a beautiful young Frenchwoman who has committed her future to the Poor Clares religious order. This spellbinding historical adventure highlights an often overlooked episode on the road to American independence. --Margaret Flanagan Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Swerling's sweeping fictional account of the French and Indian War rivals Harold Coyle's 1997 novel, Savage Wilderness, in its masterful treatment of the hardship, brutality and treachery of America's colonial wars. Covering the years 1754-1760, with the British, French and Indians slaughtering each other for king and empire, Swerling tells of two men who straddle the white and red man's worlds, desperate to preserve the best of each culture, but fearful they will lose everything they love. Quentin Hale is a gentleman turned scout whose family owns a prosperous New York plantation called Shadowbrook. He is white, but also follows the Indian ways of his adopted tribe, the Potawatomi. Cormac Shea is part-Irish and part-Indian, nearly a brother to Hale, but he wants all whites driven from Canada. Together these men find themselves caught up in a bloody war neither wants, but they must fight to save the plantation and create a homeland for the Indians. Hale faces treachery at home from his sadistic and greedy elder brother, John; from a scheming one-eyed Scot; and from lying, corrupt politicians who want to steal his legacy; he also has an Indian enemy who wants to cut out his heart. Hale and Shea fight in many battles, mostly massacres, from Louisbourg and Fort William Henry to the climactic battle at Quebec. Surrounding them are colorful historical figures like the young George Washington, the hapless General Braddock and the powerful Ottawa chief, Pontiac. Swerling also cleverly reveals the arrogant influence of the Catholic Church in politics, the duplicity of governmental promises and the forced migration of Acadians from Nova Scotia. The complexity of the history involved may daunt some readers, but most will be captivated by Swerling's intricate plot, colorful characters and convincing descriptions of colonial life. Agent, Henry Morrison. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

For Quentin Hale, the Ohio Country means freedom from the ghosts of the past, from having to watch his brother inherit his beloved ancestral land, and for all people, be they black or white, Indian, French, or English. In 1754, however, it is a much-contested area: here-during one of the many skirmishes between the French and the English and their attendant Native American allies-a militia under the command of the young surveyor Col. George Washington and guided by Hale becomes embroiled in a war that eventually shapes America's own quest for independence. It is also here that readers become involved in a saga as complex and ever-changing as the conflicting and evolving loyalties of the French and Indian War (1754-63) itself. From the fortresses and monasteries of Quebec to the bayous of Louisiana, from drawing rooms in New York to the wilderness of Ohio Country, this sprawling story remains centered on Shadowbrook, Hale's vast estate in northern New York, and the many different people who call it home. Swerling's second historical novel (after City of Dreams) offers a riveting narrative whose drama is somewhat diluted by the constant switching back and forth of locales and narrators. Highly recommended all the same.-Cynthia Johnson, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One Wednesday, May 27, 1754 Québec, New France Miserere mei, Deus ...Have mercy on me, Lord, according to the greatness of Your mercy. The five women had no mercy on themselves. They beat their backs with knotted cords. Each wore a black veil, pulled forward so it shadowed her face, and a thin gray robe called a night habit. The blows rose and fell, hitting first one shoulder then the other, and every third stroke, the most sensitive skin on the back of the neck. Occasionally a small gasp escaped one of the women, barely audible above the singsong Latin chant. De profundis clamavi ad te, Dominum ...Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord. Domine, exaudi vocem meam. Lord, hear my voice. The narrow rectangular space was lit by twelve tall white candles. The whitewashed stone walls reflected the elongated shadows of the women, who knelt one behind the other on the bare stone floor. Occasionally, when the woman in front of her managed to find a new burst of strength, a spurt of blood would spatter the one behind. The knotted cords were carefully crafted, fashioned to a centuries-old design. The length must be from shoulder to thumb of the woman who would use it, the rope sturdy and two fingers thick. The seven knots were spaced evenly from end to end. It was called the discipline and was given to each nun on the day she made her vows as a follower of St. Francis, a Poor Clare of the Strict Observance of St. Colette. Quoniam non est in morte qui memor sit tui ...It is not in death that You are remembered, Lord. In inferno autem quis confitebitur tibi ...In the eternal fire who will recall You? An iron grille in the front of the cloister chapel enclosed the holy of holies, the small ornate tabernacle containing the wafers that had been consecrated in Holy Mass and were now the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The grille was covered by heavy curtains so those on the other side in the visitors' chapel could not see the strictly enclosed daughters of St. Clare. In the middle of that Wednesday night only one person was present in the public section of the chapel, a man who knelt upright with his arms outstretched in the position of his crucified Lord. He could hear the soft, sighing sounds of the knotted ropes punishing soft female flesh. His shoulders twitched occasionally in response. Antoine Pierre de Rubin Montaigne of the Friars Minor was also a follower of St. Francis, a priest of what the Church called the Seraphic Order, men who had originally vowed to own nothing and beg for their daily bread. The rule had been modified over the five centuries since Blessed Francis preached the glories of Lady Poverty, but its priests retained the humble title "Father." Rubin Montaigne was Père Antoine to all, most especially the women on the other side of the altar screen. In the nuns' chapel the pace of the scourging had become more urgent by the time of the great cry of the Miserere: Have pity on me, Lord, for I perish. The cords flicked through the air too quickly to be seen, white blurs in the candlelit gloom. Père Antoine, Delegate of the Franciscan Minister General in Rome, the ultimate authority for members of the order in New France, had decreed that in addition to the traditional scourging that took place every Friday before dawn, the Poor Clares of Québec would take the discipline every Monday and Wednesday after the midnight office of Matins. They would offer this special penance until the territory the British called the Ohio Country, but which had long been claimed in the name of Louis XV, was made secure, truly part of New France. When Holy Mother Church moved south to convert the native tribes, these nuns and their scars would be the jewels in her crown. Turn Your face from my sins and all my iniquities shall be forgotten... None wielded the discipline with greater vigor than Mère Marie Rose, Abbess. The shoulders of her night habit were stiff with the caked blood of past scourgings. When they buried her the garment would serve as her shroud, and she had already issued instructions that it should not be laundered. She would go to her grave with the evidence of her fervor. Iniquitatem meum ergo cognosco ...My sins are known to You. For my sins, for the sins of my daughters, for the glory of God. The words filled the abbess's mind, blended with the pain, the chant uniting the two, pulsing in her blood. Miserere ...Have mercy, Lord. On the king. On this New France. On our brave soldiers. The shoulder muscles of Père Antoine were on fire. His arms felt like lead weights, but he did not allow them to drop. The pain was a kind of ecstasy and he exulted in it. For the Church. For the Order. For the conquest of the land below the pays d'en haut and the defeat of the heretic English. Copyright (c) 2004 by MichaelA, Ltd. Excerpted from Shadowbrook: A Novel of Love, War, and the Birth of America by Beverly Swerling All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Important Characters in the Story
Book 1
Book 2
Book 3
Book 4
Book 5
Epilogue: The World of Tears 1763-1769