Books by William Lavender

AFTERSHOCKS by William Lavender
Released: April 18, 2006

One would expect a story deliberately released on the 100th-anniversary of the great San Francisco earthquake to feature physical destruction as the main event. Instead, Lavender has the sense to make his characters the focus, and the famous quake the backdrop and mirror of their problems. Jessie Wainwright, 14, longs to be a physician like her stern father, but her parents expect her to ornament society like other girls of her class. Frustrated, she befriends Mei-li, a young Chinese immigrant maid. When she discovers her father having an affair with Mei-li, it shakes her world—and when Mei-li disappears, Jessie guesses why. She searches Chinatown unsuccessfully for the brother or sister she might have—the earthquake, a few years later, gives her new venues to explore. Jessie's father and mother are complex characters, and as she grows to understand them better, Jessie attempts to shield them from pain while still pursuing justice. Her ultimate triumph feels right, and the historical details will attract those who like period fiction. (Fiction. 12+)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

It's 1776 and Lady Jane Prentice, the 14-year-old daughter of the Third Earl of Almesbury, has moved to Charleston, South Carolina. Now she's just Jane, having dropped her aristocratic title to fit the spirit of the times. But which spirit? Cousin Hugh is a rebel, Uncle Robert is a staunch Loyalist, and her schoolteacher, Simon Cordwyn, says he is a moderate. The idea of independence horrifies Jane: "wouldn't that be treason?" It soon becomes clear that Jane's story will parallel the story of her adopted land. Will her future be to "become the wife of some carefully selected son of a good Carolina family and go live in a big house," or will she, like the colonies, declare her independence and make her own choices, using her own judgment? By 1780, Jane has grown into a beautiful young woman, the war has come South, and the British have occupied Charleston. Jane is forced to make choices and swear allegiances as she is caught up in the swirl of history-making events. Lavender makes both stories—the personal and the political—real and immediate. There is romance and intrigue, and the dialogue is handled well. If there's a bit too much telling of history, it's a lively story nevertheless. The brief bibliography is not up-to-date and will not be especially useful to readers wanting to learn more about the Revolution in the South. For fans of sprawling, romantic historical fiction. (glossary, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 12+)Read full book review >