Fields Of The Fatherless by Elaine Marie Cooper
Reviewed By Tammy Doherty –
FIELDS OF THE FATHERLESS is an incredibly well-written novel. Its depth of historical facts is amazing.
Our family celebrates Patriots Day every year, often trekking over to Concord, MA, to watch the parade. The general details of that fateful day, and events leading up to it, are familiar to me. Elaine Cooper has taken these dry facts and brought them to life, writing about those events from the point of view of a real person, Betsy Russell, who really lived in Menotomy in 1775. Her reactions, and those of the other people of Menotomy, during the days leading up to war and during those horrible hours on April 19th open the reader’s eyes to the true horrors of war.
The story unfolds in the weeks prior to April 19th, giving readers insight into the feelings of the Colonists, both their anger and their fears. Betsy and her family do not want to live in tyranny yet Betsy fears the looming threat of war—will she lose her family? When fighting does break out, the terror felt by all (Betsy, her family, the other Colonists) is palpable and real.
Knowing what happened didn’t stop me from wondering what happens. Sounds silly, but that’s how real the story feels. How Betsy copes with the aftermath of battle in her backyard and learns to forgive her enemies is truly amazing while at the same time it flows in a natural way, never forced.
Though the diary entries used for this novel are fictitious, it’s easy to believe that Betsy really felt these things, might have said those words. Reverend Cooke did actually speak the word of the sermons Ms. Cooper includes in this novel. Some of what he said over 200 years ago applies so aptly to current events.
I recommend this novel to anyone who likes historical fiction and those who love American history.