LADY OF ROANOKE by Jean Bothwell


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History books devote a line or two to the ""lost colony"" left on Roanoke Island in 1597 by Governor John White and never heard from again. Miss Bothwell's contention is that' they were not necessarily lost just because they were never found -- they may not have wanted to be found. Around this viewpoint, she has written a meticulous, speculative story of how the colony could move inland, build a town, raise children, intermarry with the Indians, and reach a point where the people no longer wanted any contact with the Old World. The story is that of Humphrey Hall, 17 at the book's beginning, godfather and eventually husband to Virginia Dare, aged 3 when first met. Fascinating as Miss Bothwell's theory is, the book's glaring weaknesses make it a dull novel. In her concern with historical accuracy as it might have been, Miss Bothwell has forgotten to provide either a suspenseful plot or character development. Humphrey Hall is a paragon when we meet him and a paragon when we leave him; Virginia Dare is portrayed at the age of 3 as behaving and speaking as a 15 year old might who has discovered she has sexual charm. Moreover, the book is unfortunate in its title: any appeal it might have would be to boys since Humphrey is the hero, though even he is a blur.

Pub Date: April 12th, 1965
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston