By Ted Richardson
Rating: 3/5 Stairs
In the vein of the Cotton Malone series, this book had great premise. An antiques dealer stumbles across a journal from the early 1800’s, hidden in an atlas from the 1920’s. The author of the journal claims to have in her possession a letter of surrender written by George Washington himself, to be delivered to the British during the long winter at Valley Forge.
I really enjoy books of this genre – I refer to them as history with a twist. These novels take real events, and add an element which really could have happened within the historical timeline. Mr. Richardson does a great job outlining the real historical events that pertain to Imposters of Patriotism at the end of the novel. You can see how the potential letter of surrender could have fit in, and subsequently been hidden away from the world.
Here was my problem with this book: the author gives the reader way too much information. First of all, I would have preferred a brief teaser at the beginning to set up the mystery. 2 February 1778 – Valley Forge, PA: Set the scene and Washington’s dilemma, and leave it there. Don’t let us know if he chose to write the letter of surrender or not. Or, he does write the letter, but we don’t know what became of it.
Throughout the book, we follow events in modern day Savannah, and then jump back in time to follow the progression of the surrender letter. The narrative would have been much more effective and suspenseful if Mr. Richardson would have stayed in the present with his main characters, and let the reader discover things as Matt and his friends did, perhaps through the actual journal entries themselves. Instead, the jumps to the past treat the reader to extra information so we knew that the letter did exist, and exactly what had happened to it.
It was a fun, quick read. There was a lot of potential in this story, if only Mr. Richardson had executed it a bit differently.
Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.