Written to order for the ""Great Episodes"" series, a novelization of a legend with as little authenticity as the one about...

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A RIDE INTO MORNING: The Story of Tempe Wick

Written to order for the ""Great Episodes"" series, a novelization of a legend with as little authenticity as the one about Washington and the cherry tree: how a young woman near Morristown, N.J., hid her horse in her house in order to prevent his being commandeered by mutinous Revolutionary soldiers. Best here are the author's background notes, scrupulously distinguishing fact from fiction: with minor exceptions, 'all the characters are historical, but some of their histories have been changed. Most significantly, 14-year-old Mary, Tempe's cousin, has been imported to provide a young narrator since Tempe herself was 22 at the time of the incident. But the novel itself, though crammed with authentic detail, is much less satisfactory. The major characters are inconsistently drawn: Tempe's irascibility and coldness are rationally explained, but sit oddly with her compassion for the hungry crowding her doorstep; Mary is a pastiche of actions contrived to make her a convenient observer. The language is accessible but often clumsy, an uncomfortable blend of period phrases (""must needs"") and conspicuous anachronisms. Worst, the philosophical underpinnings are muddled and inadequately developed; e.g, Tempe spends most of the book learning that compromise is morally suspect, but Mary's mentor-brother concludes by explaining that it is a ""necessary commodity."" Despite the exemplary documentation, second-rate.

Pub Date: April 1, 1991

ISBN: 0152046836

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1991