My rating: 3 of 5 stars
That Woman by Wayne Clark is a historical novel that takes place in Colonial New York. Sarah and Jacob live in Paris and know that their father is on the verge of ruin after a series of bad business decisions. The story begins while they are sitting on a dock while their father meets with a ship’s captain in a last attempt at gaining business. The children are kidnapped and the reader is left to wonder if their father planned it, or if this occurred by happenstance.
Sarah and Jacob are whisked away to America. Sarah is indentured and her job is to keep the accounts of her master whom she despises. When she has had her fill, she holds her captor to a knife. Ultimately, she makes a deal with him that his life will be spared if he sets her up in business for herself. He does, but the story does not end there, as he has vowed to make her life miserable.
The story was a bit long but Clark’s descriptions of Colonial New York did a good job of transporting me to the scene.
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by Wayne Clark
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
eBook & Print;
2017 Book Excellence Awards Finalist for Fiction
Kidnapped in France and brought to America as an indentured servant, a young woman takes on the brutal merchant king of New York’s East River waterfront…
Illness suddenly deprives 17-year-old Sarah Da Silva and her older brother Jacob of a mother. Before Sarah has come to terms with that loss, her merchant father grows frail and increasingly desperate in the face of impending bankruptcy. On the rainy night their father scours the docks of Bordeaux, France, to make his final bid to save his family, his children are kidnapped and forced onto a ship bound for New York City where they’ll be separated and sold to the highest bidder as indentured labor.
Purchased by a grotesque merchant whose wealth, backed by a team of henchmen, allows him to dominate the chaotic East River docks, Sarah strikes back the only way she can. Vowing to never allow him to put his hands on her again, she presses a knife to his fat neck. She demands her freedom, a roof over her head and the means to start a business. Her leverage? Knowledge obtained on the voyage that would bring the big man to his knees forever. He yields to her demands but privately swears to become her worst nightmare.
Praise for That Woman
“Historical tidbits about the city (Greenwich Village served as a “country retreat” for the upper class) enhance an action-packed plot that includes forgery (responsible for prodigious contributions to the supply of paper currency), thievery, immigrant fortitude, and the unbreakable bond of friendships that evolve into “family” in this new land. Clark’s (he and She, 2014) prose is vivid. Describing a Frenchwoman who will become Sarah’s friend and business partner, he writes: “Geneviève’s story came out in pieces, as if well intentioned short phrases had come to her tongue and no further, only to be forgotten about for moments on end…the engrossing story offers plenty of skulduggery to keep the plot moving. Well-stocked with vibrant details about the merchant trade, this engaging Colonial tale delivers likable heroes, despicable villains, and a strong female protagonist.” –Kirkus Reviews
“THAT WOMAN, Wayne Clark’s tale of forced servitude and revenge in pre-Revolutionary War New York hums with injustice, and the reader thirsts for the violated character, in every sense of the word, getting even. Along the way, Clark makes New York City, already a money-drenched melting pot, as much a character as any of the participants. 4 stars.” – Ron Capshaw for IndieReader
“Wayne Clark could be the new Jeffrey Archer, another master of the plot. His That Woman: Beating the Odds in Colonial New York is a story that held me in ways I never could have imagined when I started reading. The characters are very compelling, each with a solid background and each born from a powerful conflict. The duel between Sarah and her new lord raises the stakes of the conflict in this novel and the reader becomes very keen to watch how it ends. Here is a story that dramatically captures the spirit of colonialism and slavery, with a masterful handling of the theme of freedom. Readers are taken on a roller coaster ride to colonial New York to witness a drama that will take their breath away. It’s utterly mesmerizing and tantalizing. 5 stars.” – Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite
About the Author
Award-winning author Wayne Clark was born in 1946 in Ottawa, Ont., but has called Montreal home since 1968. Woven through that time frame in no particular order have been interludes in Halifax, Toronto, Vancouver, Germany, Holland and Mexico.
By far the biggest slice in a pie chart of his career would be labelled journalism, including newspapers and magazines, as a reporter, editor and freelance writer. The other, smaller slices of the pie would also represent words in one form or another, in advertising as a copywriter and as a freelance translator. However, unquantifiable in a pie chart would be the slivers and shreds of time stolen over the years to write fiction.