Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bound-Sally Gunning

Sally Gunning
Morrow, Apr 2008, $24.95
ISBN 9780061240256

With the family patriarch in the colonies, the rest of the Coles travel from London to the New World to join him in 1756. During the harsh sea voyage, seven year old Alice watches her mom and brothers die. In Boston her father rids himself of the burden of raising her by indenturing her for the next eleven years to the Morton family of Dedham.

Alice does housework, but is treated like a daughter for the most part by her Morton owners. She and ten-years-old Abigail "Nabby" Morton become friends. When Nabby marries Emery Verley of Medfield, her parents transfer her indenture contract to their new son-in-law. However, she is treated with disdain and abuse so she runs away. She makes it to Cape Cod where Lyddie Berry (see THE WIDOW’S WAR) and her companion Eben Freeman shower her with kindness and give her a home and a job. Everything looks good until Alice realizes she is pregnant.

BOUND is an insightful look back at the horrors of the late colonial period’s indentured servant system that included selling children into servitude. Readers will be stunned by the horrors of what happens to Alice in her second assignment. In many ways a cautionary tale that claims economics often trumps freedom especially for impoverished people, Sally Gunning provides a well written thought provoking mid eighteenth century thriller.

Harriet Klausner

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