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Waldron book, ‘Genesee,’
tells of a girl's woes in 18th century
Sunday, July 13, 2003
BY MARY O. BRADLEY
Of The Patriot-News
Local writer Juliet V. Waldron spins a magical tale of love during the American Revolution in her new historical novel, “Genesee.”
Set in the Finger Lakes region of New York state, “Genesee” is the story of Genesee “Jenny” van Cortlandt, the daughter of Alyda van Cortlandt, who defied her wealthy Dutch family by running off with Black Wolf, a Seneca brave.
The novel begins in 1761 as Alyda's brother, Hendrik, a trapper, returns to his homestead with the infant Jenny after finding Alyda dead. The doting Hendrik and his reluctant wife, Trudy, raise Jenny with their three sons. When Hendrik dies, his widow marries a Loyalist and Jenny becomes little better than a slave in the new household.
She finally is sent to the Albany home of her grandfather, Nicholas van Cortlandt, where she is educated and taught to be a lady. As a young woman of mixed blood, however, she faces prejudice and whispers about her lineage.
In 1776, at the home of her uncle, Stephan van Cortlandt, Jenny meets and falls in love with Capt. Alexander Dunbar of Army of the Independence. Penniless, with few prospects and committed to the war, Alex can offer Jenny only the Scottish tradition of handfasting, a marriage symbolized by the presentation of a silver ring. Alex is forced to leave Albany when he is dismissed from his post at Stephan's instigation.
He promises to return, but Jenny is urgently needed back on the frontier to help her stepmother and stepbrothers. She is kidnapped by her father, Black Wolf, during a murderous rampage and taken to live among his people. Jenny must once again adjust to a new way of life. She finds strength in the hope that Alex will rescue her and their child.
Waldron, a Hershey resident, also wrote “Mozart's Wife,” a biography about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's wife, Konstanze, who was hated by Viennese society but adored by the brilliant superstar of the music world.
“Genesee” won the EPPIE 2003 award for best historical novel. The award was presented by EPIC, the Electronically Published Internet Connection organization.
The story of confidence in one's self, faith in love and the resilience of the human spirit, “Genesee” is an entertaining romantic adventure set in a young America, but its lessons are timeless.
MARY O. BRADLEY: 255-8147
Copyright 2003 The Patriot-News. Used with permission.
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