SEVEN DAYS IN JUNE: A Novel of the American Revolution by Howard Fast

SEVEN DAYS IN JUNE: A Novel of the American Revolution

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A historical novel trapped in the body of a bodice-ripper that will leave both history buffs and steamy sex aficionados unsatisfied. Fast (The Trial of Abigail Goodman, 1993, etc.) has written over 80 books. Eight of his novels are based on events of the American Revolution, and this latest one focuses on the Battle of Bunker Hill. The pivotal early confrontation on the Charleston Peninsula outside of Boston was a bloody disaster for the British and signaled the determination of the makeshift army of ordinary citizens. The Continental Congress had yet to appoint George Washington as commander of the American forces, and there was as yet no standing army, just a ragtag group of volunteers led by an equally ragtag number of men from various nonmilitary backgrounds. Here, much of the battle is seen from the point of view of Dr. Evan Feversham, a former Englishman who has joined the rebels. Once the book finally reaches the battlefield, there are brief moments of gripping drama: The courage of the outmanned and betrayed Americans facing the world's most formidable army is well rendered, although there is a tedious repetitiveness to much of the action. A bigger problem is that more than half the book focuses on the sexual proclivities of the British commanders, especially on General William Howe's attraction to a married American woman with ""breasts overflowing her bodice."" While Fast uses the trysts to show the arrogance of the British leaders, a disproportionate amount of time (most of it dull) is spent on them and not on the actual (and much more interesting) battle. The whole novel has a slipshod, slapdash feel, cluttered with hurried, lazy characterizations (""a large, fat, and brawny seaman""). Like some hybrid animal, half fish, half rodent, whatever it is, it doesn't fly.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1994
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Birch Lane/Carol