An absorbing saga of families and relationships that should appeal to fans of Colonial-era fiction.


Climbing Jacob's Ladder


A historical novel follows ambitious young women in Colonial America who struggle to hold onto loved ones in the turbulent times of the late 1600s and early 1700s.

In the third installment of this series, Forbes (Climbing Jacob’s Ladder: New Challenges, Volume 2, 2014, etc.) continues the many threads from her first and second books, telling distinct but interconnected stories. This novel opens with a heroine from Book 2, Rachel Ward, who has left the civilized Colonies to live among the Pokanoket Indians with her husband, Tepho. Also known as Dr. Tom Mason, Tepho is half white, half Wampanoag. Conflict is brewing between the Native Americans and the Colonies, and Tepho feels allegiance to the natives. He sends his wife, along with his sister-in-law, back to live with the English colonists in New York for the war’s duration. Much time passes, a brutal struggle unfolds, and Rachel fears the worst for her husband. Even so, life must go on, and Forbes regales the reader with engrossing tales about many of the people in Rachel’s life. Forbes next shifts her focus to the South, beginning with Jamestown, Virginia, where James MacDougal continues to grieve for Amanda, the wife he lost in Volume 2. Returning to this section are many lovable characters from the prior books, like Lindy, Amanda’s daughter from an earlier marriage; Esther, James’ adopted daughter; and Manda, Lindy’s daughter. Forbes follows each of these characters through new adventures and adds additional kin to spice up her tale. The narrative moves at a fast clip, taking the reader for an absorbing ride through various relationships and historically interesting moments. These stories unfurl with fluidity and grace that lend a new level of artfulness to Forbes’ writing. Although the copious list of characters can be a challenge to sort out, Forbes again manages to keep the reader entranced by many of her surprising stories. Like its predecessor, this novel concludes with loose ends. Readers can likely expect a fourth book to follow.           

An absorbing saga of families and relationships that should appeal to fans of Colonial-era fiction. 

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5053-9813-7

Page Count: 324

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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