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This book just blew me away I have to admit being in a rather small minority in that I knew nothing about Pocahontas before reading the book, other than that she existed, she was famous for some reason, and there was a cartoon about her I bought the book purely on the strength of this author s other books writing as L M Ironside , set in ancient Egypt I gave all of those 5 stars so I was intrigued and delighted to see that she had tackled a different era.I wasn t disappointed Far from it While I thought the Egyptian books were excellent, I also thought that Hawker s writing had taken a quantum leap since her last book This is a writer of genuine skill She was able to evoke an era that I knew nothing about and put me right there to such an extent that now I feel like I know all about it.Because of the cartoon I wasn t sure what to expect, but this isn t a cartoon story This is the story of the collision of two cultures and the inevitable bloodshed that follows It s the story of the connection between two people too complex to be called a love story which develops into a fascinating account of two intertwined lives.I would recommend this book to everyone, whether you think you know the story of Pocahontas or not. When I was child, my favourite Disney film of all time was Pocahontas Naturally, I poked about with the few resources I had access to and knew that Disney had Got It Wrong on many levels But I still loved that film like crazy and, though I was never tempted to do thorough research as I got older and the Internet became a thing, I still found myself quietly fascinated in the story of Pocahontas.Nearly ten years after Disney released Pocahontas, Libbie Hawker has written and published Tidewater, a novel that explores the Jamestown colony and British settlement in the land that is now better known as Virginia through the eyes of not only John Smith and Pocahontas, but Opechancanough, the embittered and war hungry brother of Powhatan Tidewater offers an altogether accurate take on events Not that it isn t easy, really, when one considers the liberties Disney took with the storyline Additionally, Hawker s attempts to capture the culture of the Real People the native Americans ruled by Powhatan and her integration of the Powhatan language into her story add to a greater feeling of authenticity.Readers of Hawker s earlier historical fiction novels, written under the pseudonym L M Ironside, will recognise this feeling of authenticity and realness as one of her strengths as an author Whether it is the tidewater of Virginia, the alien England or Smith s memories of Constantinople, each location is captured beautifully, adding weighty atmosphere to the story Hawker weaves.One might also recognise Ironside s strengths with the depth of characterisation found in her characters No one is too idealised, whether it is the selfish and ambitious Pocahontas, the outcast and pragmatic Smith or the war mongering and harsh Opechancanough I will admit to disliking Pocahontas at times because she could be so selfish, treating others horribly and believing that they d continue to treat her kindly That said, the arc Hawker gave to Pochontas did much to redeem her in the end Though a historical fiction novel, Tidewater sometimes reads as a horror story or a tragedy It is a very bleak, very dark story, as the history demands it to be It is a story about the struggle for survival, the brutality and inevitability of colonisation, of the sacrifices people make in the vain hope of peaceful co existence and the futility of resistance to the British Empire I am not American and know little of that country s history, but I believe America and Australia are not too dissimilar when it comes to our appalling treatment of our indigenous peoples, both in the past and now in the present I was grateful that Hawker did not shy away from presenting the brutality of colonisation and white settlement, but did not fall into the trap of making the Real People into a bunch of noble savages Powhatan, Opechancanough, Pocahontas and all of the Real People came across as very real, flawed people who were ultimately very human.It s hard to know how to sum up this book It s an incredible, difficult read and one that will stay with me for a long time I would highly recommend it. A gorgeously written book it puts you right in time with Pocahontas, Powhatan, and John Smith You walk beside them, an invisible spectator to the events that are happening Miss Hawker has done a beautiful job of bringing this period and people to life They leap off the page at you and demand you to lose yourself in the story It was easy for me to fall into the story I knew some of the history surrounding Pocahontas and John Smith but not very much You can tell she did her research and was passionate about the subject There s no black or white here, each side thinks they are right and willing to do anything to ensure their survival.The life of the tribe was fascinating to me, I couldn t get enough of seeing how they lived, their customs and traditions While I didn t approve of some of the choices they made, I could understand in a way where each side was coming from Not sure what I would do or how brave I would be in those situations.So why the three stars While I loved the story, I wasn t in love if that makes sense it dragged for me after one part in the novel even though the writing didn t lag in any way I can t quite put my finger on it really.I would still recommend it, it s definitely worth your time and energy Pocahontas in another person from history I would love to meet. ETA Oh I forgot this The Native American names can be a little hard to keep track of There are many characters To make it even difficult the natives change their name at important turning points of their lives In addition the author throws in LOTS of Native American terms Most often you can decipher their meaning from the context and it builds atmosphere Not really a problem, but sometimes I was confused Maybe the paper book has a word list Maps would be handy too This book was just OK for me I will explain why What irritated me may be exactly what you are looking for I am rating the written book, not the audiobook version I detested the audiobook narration There are three narrators Scott Merriman, Angela Dawe and Luke Daniels Each of these read separate chapters The chapters switch between those seen from the female Native Americans and Pocahontas, the male Native Americans or the British settlers views The three different narrators each took a different group The setting is the Jamestown Colony in Virginia, the start date 1607 A six month sojourn in London is also covered The story continues through Pocahontas death There is a historical note at the end which consists of words from the author, sources and finally information on what happens to the main characters after Pocahontas death The last is read by Angela Dawe She has the largest portion of the narration The voices further emphasize the cinematic tone of the lines and events Many people enjoy such dramatization I do not Many want to feel they are at a movie They like sentimentality and melodrama I can do without both In my view the words of the female narrator sounded at times cartoonish Dawe s narration drove me nuts, but I am not letting this reduce my rating of the book That I am keeping separate Unfortunately what I disliked about the book was further exaggerated by the narration Now what did I think of the book There is the writing, the lines, how things are described Libbie Hawker does a marvelous in describing tribal traditions, customs, clothes, hairstyles, dances, rites, foods I enjoyed tremendously her use of metaphors She explains how things happened or looked or were experienced by comparing them to animals and scenery and fauna intrinsic to life there in the wild To give you a feel, here are a few examples metallic like stars in water like an osprey diving chatted like a blackbird in a marsh it was dark and shiny as a blackbird wing like an eddy in the riverThese metaphors fit perfectly and thus the reader sees the Native American world as they themselves saw it and experienced it This was cleverly done However, I disliked the dialogs and other than those metaphors the lines are ordinary, excessively action filled, meant to excite or make you feel sentimental Childish one minute adult the next Quite simply, the writing on the whole was without nuance No adverbs, nope not here Let me add that at the end in the author s so called historical notes , Hawker goes on and on about her talent and speed She wrote 160.000 words in 119 days.but I am not impressed I am really not interested in word counts I don t value speed over quality What hubris She brags of her ability to write and self publish a book without a high school education Remember the lack of adverbs Well, I believe in education There is a fundamental difference of opinion between the author and me I had another major problem For the most part the author follows historical events.as they are known For the most part she works within feasible possibilities, and I am fine with that However the myth that Pocahontas saved view spoiler John Smith s life in a dramatic scene hide spoiler NOTE Received as an ARC for review from Netgalley Unlike the Disney version, the real Pocahontas was a little girl, not a teenager, when she took on the task of translator between the English in Jamestown and the Real People Although she and John Smith had in common than might be expected he was not an English gentleman, and she was not a princess , they formed a tenuous but lasting friendship nothing The idea that it was ambition, not romance, that initially drove her to be the liaison between the English and the Real People was completely new to me and is what hooked me No one s motives are completely pure in this fascinating novel, not even Pocahontas s, which makes the characters and story all the believable and interesting. I ve loved reading Tidewater, and yes Libbie Hawker if you ever read this review It would be great to see you re visit this world with the book suggestion you mentioned in your author s note I was wary to begin with, purely because I ve always greatly enjoyed the two adaptations of the Pocahontas story that I know so well Disney version and The New World film It s always a bit scary meeting a re imagined version of a character when you feel like you already know them so well I think Thankfully I had no reason to be worried, Tidewater s Pocahontas became as dear to me as I d hoped she would As I read through this book I couldn t help comparing it to Sacajawea by Anna Lee Waldo, which I read half of earlier last year and had to eventually give up on In Tidewater I found characters with heart, something that I feel Sacajawea completely lacked Both stories follow a young Native American girl dealing with difficult, life altering events, but I cared so much for Pocahontas and that can only be down to the writing It was also nice to read about the events from a point of view other than our well known characters I had never heard of Pocahontas uncle Opechancanough so it was refreshing to get some new insights Despite initially being worried that a third narrator would put me off, I really enjoyed his parts of the book I would highly recommend Tidewater to any lover of Pocahontas and early American history or someone simply looking for a beautifully written story about a girl becoming a woman and learning lessons about life, love and loyalty during challenging and turbulent times. A doorstop to be sure, but well worth the read More later. I wish I could double my Stars to TenAs a discerning reader, Tidewater took my breath away as a writer, it left me humbled Language is our extraordinary ability so often squandered and defiled these days With Tidewater A Novel of Pocahontas and the Jamestown Colony, Libbie Hawker has restored this precious gift to her readers Those who might shy away from the word lyrical will sadly be missing out.There are a number of similes and at some time, I wondered if they would become a detractor but soon, just like Il Postino craving the poet Pablo Neruda s metaphors, I savored the trompe l oeil Hawker created for my mind.I am not prone to gushing But this is by far one of the most beautiful, expressive novels I have read in quite a while It is long it demands care and attention But the reward is deep involvement, from the natural settings to the people s lives You can feel the wind bite into bare skin, smell the last fragrant berries being harvested, and sense dark eyes ghosting through dense woods.As the well adapted Naturals and the befuddled English settlers struggle against nature and each other, their survival becomes the focal point of the novel Without unnecessary gore or heroics, you are placed squarely into the middle of their conflict, rooting for one then the other, wishing that none of it should have to be Both sides need to stay true to their own culture It was the only way they knew their only way to live their only way to die.Tidewater is a novel I shall read again, if not for its story then for the enjoyment of its writing As both are fused into this masterful novel, I will find new insights.I cannot recommend this book highly enough It is truly an outstanding example of the best writing there is. Some part of me feels as if I have been waiting years for this book Let s be clear I didn t know this book existed until a few months ago, and even then I was skeptical 500 pages Yikes But as soon as I dived into the story, I didn t want to surface again until I d finished it Libbie Hawker chooses the most beautiful words to tell her story, and I hated any time I had to put this down in favor of real life things eating, sleeping, working, you know Those basic needs sorts of things But I always came right back to this, and fell right back into the wilds of pre colonized Virginia, and it was such a wonderful feeling I m actually still amazed I finished this as quickly as I did, considering its size and how crazy busy I ve been lately But it flowed so smoothly that there was barely any effort put into staying focused on the story or making sure I got through X amount of pages each day Great, great story, and I can t wait to read of her work I ve actually got The Sekhmet Bed on my Cloud Reader, so I may start on that pretty soon Also hoping to read the potential sequel she mentioned in the author s note Bottom line If you grew up loving the 1995 Disney movie, or you love history, definitely read this. `Download ☂ Tidewater ↛ In , Three Ships Arrive On The Coast Of Virginia To Establish Jamestown Colony One Girl S Life And The Lives Of Her People Are Changed ForeverTo Pocahontas And Her People, The Tidewater Is The Rightful Home Of The Powhatan Tribe To England, It Is Virginia Territory, Fertile With Promise, Rich With Silver And Gold As Jamestown Struggles To Take Root, John Smith Knows That The Only Hope For Survival Lies With The Powhatan People He Knows, Too, That They Would Rather See The English Starve Than Yield Their Homeland To Invaders In The Midst Of This Conflict, Pocahontas, The Daughter Of The Great Chief, Forges An Unlikely Friendship With Smith Their Bond Preserves A Wary Peace But Control Can Rest Only In One Nation S Hands When That Peace Is Broken, Pocahontas Must Choose Between Power And Servitude Between Self And Sacrifice For The Sake Of Her People And Her LandRevised Edition This Edition Of Tidewater Includes Editorial Revisions