Disclosure: Reviewer received a copy of this e-book in order to facilitate an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are the author's own.
I am a reader, always have been and always will be. When I was a kid, a book was always in my hands, my bag, or at least nearby. Reading was my escape, my way of visiting foreign ports, my chance at time travel, and a way to meet people facing choices I’d never imagined.
The best books are the books that stick with you, even when you put them down. They infect your conscious so that when you’re out doing every day activities you are thinking of the characters, seeing the world in a new way, or experiencing emotions that are a result of what you’ve read. These books change your view of the world.
I am in the midst of reading a series of books that are capturing my mind and my heart, they are based on Cape Cod and I thought I would share them with you mamas! This book is making me see the Cape in a new way, and feel the hope, grief, love, and excitement of the characters. I just completed the first book - This Is The House by Deborah Hill. Set on Cape Cod, the story follows Molly Deems from age 18 months through adulthood.
Born during the American Revolution, she and her mother face tremendous struggles after the loss of her father during the war. Molly’s mother had nothing and no one to help her and is essentially bought by a mean, vicious man and she and Molly must move with him to Barnstable. There her mother is abused and used as he pleases. To help her daughter escape a similar awful fate, her mother finds Molly a place as a serving girl in the home of a wealthy sea captain’s family in Yarmouth.
Molly is blessed with a kind and loving mistress, Elizabeth Ward, who teaches her to read and write as well as the skills to run a fashionable household despite Molly’s lowly status as a servant. Molly is bright and kind and good. She is a hard worker and succeeds in her role serving Captain Ward, his wife, and two sons - though she aspires to more. A great beauty she begins to attract attention as she ages and she knows if she wants to advance her station in life, she must connect herself with a man on his way up in the world. On Cape Cod the upwardly mobile men were the sea captains.
In the Ward’s house, she meets a young man, Elijah Merrick, about to take command of his first ship. Using her natural charm, beauty, intellect, and a little manipulation, she quickly wins his heart. There are many obstacles to their marriage - she’s a servant girl, her reputation is in question thanks to her mother’s position, Elijah’s old Cape Cod family will not accept her, and worst of all is her attraction to the Ward’s irresponsible, handsome son, Isaac.
I don’t want to reveal too much of the story because it is a joy to read and root for Molly and Elijah, her good hearted, loving sea captain. They are both complicated characters faced with choices and difficulties true to their historical time period. Their story shows the social mobility that was available to Cape Codders in a time when Cape Cod men were the premier captains and sailors in the country and the world was theirs to explore and make their fortune. These captains and their wives changed the face of the Cape, leaving the old one story rambling Cape homes for the large Captain’s homes we see dotting Route 6A to this day.
As I drive down the road, it is easy to imagine Molly and Elijah walking down that road, riding in their carriage as their fortune grew, and finally building their own two story, double chimney house. It was a joy to learn more about Cape history, the story left me hungering to research the past. Find out the details of the towns and families described in the book. Many of you Cape Cod Mommies will recognize familiar names (maybe your name!) as you read this book. We meet members of the Sears, Snow, Mayo, and other families that are still living here today. Deborah Hill writes about old feuds and what caused them, the division of towns and how they came to be. It’s a fascinating read, especially for those of us lucky enough to live here, a land still populated by captains and their sailors.
The author lived on Cape Cod and married into a family with mariner roots. She read the memoir of her husband’s Revolutionary War-era ancestor (Elijah Cobb) and included many elements of his story and the Cape he described into the book. Read it and tell me what you think. I’m about to start The House of Kingsley Merrick the next book in the series and am so excited that Deborah Hill has just released the final book in this trilogy – The Heir. This is exciting because the other two books were released in the 1970’s and fans of the series have been waiting ever since for the third book and here it is, hurrah! I hope to find the next two books as engaging as this first book, I will definitely report back
If you enjoy historical fiction, if you want to learn about Cape Cod after the Revolutionary War and during the early 19th century, or if you are just looking for your next good read, then go check out This Is The House, you won’t regret it!
Check out more info on the books here: http://www.deborahhillbooks.com/
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