Our daughter married Graham Johnson while we were in Washington. This last week his family invited us to their cabin home at Ashley Lake, Montana. I took a book I’ve been waiting to read these last 3 years. It went with me to Washington and back, unopened. This week I devoured every word of its almost 600 pages. Nancy E. Turner is one of my very favorite authors. Below is the GoodReads summary, and 2 of my favorite passages.
The year is 1729, and Resolute Talbot and her siblings are captured by pirates, taken from their family in Jamaica, and brought to the New World. Resolute and her sister are sold into slavery in colonial New England and taught the trade of spinning and weaving. When Resolute finds herself alone in Lexington, Massachusetts, she struggles to find her way in a society that is quick to judge a young woman without a family. As the seeds of rebellion against England grow, Resolute is torn between following the rules and breaking free. Resolute’s talent at the loom places her at the center of an incredible web of secrecy that helped drive the American Revolution.
From “My Name is Resolute” p. 432-433:
Last month across town, Goody Meacham was tried for witchcraft because she argued with a neighbor whose dog killed her goose. The neighbor’s child then died and his cow had a calf born with two heads. No one knew her. No one came to her defense. She might have been hung had not the judges disagreed on whether she looked the part of a witch. I never want to be in a place where no one would come forward to say to a judge that they have known me as righteous. A life well-lived, in some respects, needs witnesses.
pp. 584-585 from the Epilogue:
I have been swept along by life’s storm, made to choose my life’s path on the wing, often with few options. As I look back I see that even when I thought I was choosing, often I elected merely to survive. I have struggled with a natural tendency to anger and to fabricate tales, but my heart was ever watchful for rightness and goodness, and love. There are those like my Cullah, who stand stalwart without lies, without anger, against the gale of life, and I honor them. I was placed on this shore in a time that has changed, I think, the world–at least if I am to believe what I heard and read when at last our Declaration was read from an upper window in Boston. Perhaps, along with hundreds of other women in this place during this momentous time, I have made a difference. Perhaps I kept some from freezing or starving. The hidden room and unseen stairs in this house have been a respite place for one runaway slave and her babe on their way north.
I am my own tapestry, then, made as I could for myself. Some holes in my fabric have been made by others, some torn by chance. Missing threads in the weave represent all those I have loved who died so long before me. Sunshine and apple blossoms tint it, along with sea foam and stars. Dark places mark where tears dyed the cloth, darker still, the stains of blood, all of it laced with the crystal blue of Meager Bay on a bright day and a single strand of ruby the color of the ring of my mother’s that I still have. The strong, even places consecrate moments where love outmatched loss, and where great good came from sacrifice. When it was finished, it was not what I expected it to be. I had once imagined to live as a delicately fashioned bolt of fine silk of high and gentle quality, perfect but for a minor slub or two. The life I have lived was not a lady’s silk, but a colorful, natty tapestry of embroidery, winceyette, lace, and motley. Many men I have known in my life will be written about and remembered for the deeds they have done these many years since the colonies loosed their bonds. My story is the story of other women like me, women who left no name, who will not be remembered or their deeds written, every one of them a restless stalk of flax who lent fiber to the making of a whole cloth, every one of them a thread, be it gold, dapple, crimson, or tarred. Let this tapestry be a record, then, that once there lived a woman, and that her name was Resolute.