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Shadowbrook: A Novel of Love, War, and the Birth of America Paperback – Mar 7 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (March 7 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743228138
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743228138
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 15.6 x 23.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 599 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #453,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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MISERERE MEI, DEUS . . . Have mercy on me, Lord, according to the greatness of Your mercy. Read the first page
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Curious on March 16 2004
Format: Hardcover
I won't sketch the plot again as this has already been done above. Several things struck me as I read Shadowbrook. The first was how much popular fiction in the hands of a gifted writer can achieve. The descriptions of those things one can see, the things that might be captured by a cinematographer, are rendered in such beautiful and evocative language that you forget at times you're not watching the big screen. The things one cannot see, the things that must be coaxed from cinematic image with inference, are conjured by Swerling with such skill that the reader thinks, dreams, smells, schemes and feels along with the book's characters. This clean access to the "unseeable" is one of the advantages novels enjoy over film and TV. Ironically it is the element most of today's writers have sacrificed, apparently believing they must do so to emulate the torrid pace of cinema. Swerling has shown that this is an unnecessary sacrifice, at least for a writer as talented as she: Shadowbrook, while rich in its treatment of the "unseeable," moves along at an absolutely breathtaking pace. The depth given by Swerling to her characters and settings leaves you feeling at book's end that you've traveled through time, that you've been places and met people you'll never forget.
I also found refreshing how distant events are viewed from the inside out, i.e. from the vantage point of the characters rather than from a faraway observer smothering us with facts. In Shadowbrook one sees history for what it is: a great human tide that defines us as quickly as we create it.
Finally, I loved the way Swerling shows how our thoughts and actions are shaped by the prism of belief through which we view the world.
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By Curious on March 16 2004
Format: Hardcover
I won't sketch the plot again as this has already been done above. Several things struck me as I read Shadowbrook. The first was how much popular fiction in the hands of a gifted writer can achieve. The descriptions of those things one can see, the things that might be captured by a cinematographer, are rendered in such beautiful and evocative language that you forget at times you're not watching the big screen. The things one cannot see, the things that must be coaxed from cinematic image with inference, are conjured by Swerling with such skill that the reader thinks, dreams, smells, schemes and feels along with the book's characters. This clean access to the "unseeable" is one of the advantages novels enjoy over film and TV. Ironically it is the element most of today's writers have sacrificed, apparently believing they must do so to emulate the torrid pace of cinema. Swerling has shown that this is an unnecessary sacrifice, at least for a writer as talented as she: Shadowbrook, while rich in its treatment of the "unseeable," moves along at an absolutely breathtaking pace. The depth given by Swerling to her characters and settings leaves you feeling at book's end that you've traveled through time, that you've been places and met people you'll never forget.
I also found refreshing how distant events are viewed from the inside out, i.e. from the vantage point of the characters rather than from a faraway observer smothering us with facts. In Shadowbrook one sees history for what it is: a great human tide that defines us as quickly as we create it.
Finally, I loved the way Swerling shows how our thoughts and actions are shaped by the prism of belief through which we view the world.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
In SHADOWBROOK, the North America of the mid eighteenth century springs to life in a riveting, violent, and touching novel. With her meticulous research and fluid style, Beverly Swerling breathes life into some of the most famous figures from the era-George Washington, Chief Pontiac, General Wolfe to name but a few. Moreover, she so effectively conjures up the setting that I could see and smell the wilderness of Ohio and hear the noise from the streets of old Quebec. Her two fictional protagonists-Quentin Hale and Cormac Shea-embody the conflict erupting around them: white versus Indian and English versus French. Shea, part English and part Indian, is a particularly moving character. He dreams of peaceful cohabitation between the Europeans and the "Real People" (an Indian term for their own people) but sees only proof of the opposite in the spiraling bloodshed of the time.
Swerling's brutally frank description of the French and Indian War's battles is at times almost painful to read but it only heightens the book's authenticity and magnifies the suspense. The personal dramas, including a touching love story and a deadly family betrayal, which play out against the backdrop of war make SHADOWBROOK impossible to put down.

Though the French and Indian War clearly sets the foundation for the American revolution, Swerling simultaneously describes the events that led to the eventual foundation of Canada-and her two solitudes of English and French. As a Canadian, I was fascinated to meet the characters whose actions helped shape the destiny and character of my nation.

In SHADOWBROOK, Beverly Swerling reaffirms what her previous novel, CITY OF DREAMS, showed-namely, Swerling is amongst the very best of today's historical fiction writers.
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