Mary Ball Washington emerges from this well-researched fictional biography as an uneducated, determined and possessive matriarch. At 23, she prodded Captain Augustine Washington, a widower 14 years her senior, into marriage, subsequently bore him four children of whom George was the first. When her husband died, in 1743, she managed his smallish tobacco plantation herself, raising her children with the same strict hand. One by one they escaped her domination, until finally she was left quite alone, ""a querulous old lady, growing ""eccentric"". Her only income, during the last years of her life was a meager $500, which George, by then one of the richest men in America, elected to send her annually. A level, unsentimental look at both mother and son.