Sharavogue by Nancy Blanton

Sharavogue by Nancy Blanton
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc.
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (292 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

It is December of 1649 as England’s uncrowned king, Oliver Cromwell, leads his brutal army across Ireland to eliminate a violent rebellion. Fifteen-year-old Elvy Burke, the daughter of a great warrior, wants only one thing—to live her destiny as a leader and defender of her country. While waiting anxiously in her village, Elvy receives word that Cromwell and his cavalry are on the way. As she hears the thunderous hooves approaching, Elvy has already decided she will not give up easily.

When Cromwell cruelly beheads a village boy, Elvy vows to avenge the killing by destroying Cromwell. After fleeing from the general’s soldiers, Elvy aligns with a Scottish outlaw whose schemes send them headlong into a tumultuous journey across the sea to the West Indies, where she becomes an indentured servant for the fledgling sugar plantation Sharavogue. Knowing she will surely be killed if she attempts to escape, Elvy learns to survive in her new life—and soon discovers the depth of her own strengths and emotions.

Sharavogue is the compelling historical tale of one girl’s incredible journey through the lawless lands of the West Indies as she fights her way back to Ireland to confront her sworn enemy and claim her destiny.

“The Irish were no different, after all, than the English. Cruelty reigned. We were without justice, without recourse. We were without hope.” Fifteen-year-old Elvy Burke only wants to live up to her destiny. As the daughter of a great warrior, she dreams of being a leader of her people and a defender of her country. But Oliver Cromwell and his brutal army change her destiny. After cursing Cromwell to his face, she flees her village determined to find a way to kill Cromwell and free her land. She thinks that only Cromwell is brutal, but she discovers the hard way as she becomes an indentured servant in the West Indies, that the English do not have a monopoly on brutality. Elvy learns to survive and she finds kindness in unexpected places. She uncovers her own strengths as she fights her way back to her home in Ireland.

Nancy Blanton has captured the Cromwellian era with an exciting and fast-paced story containing all the elements of the heroic quest. Elvy is a fascinating and captivating young woman who never loses sight of her goal. She is headstrong and naïve, but she has a strong love for her family and her country. I was with her every step of her journey, and I must say that I also learned a lot about the historical era. Blanton has accomplished what I think all writers of good historical fiction should. She has accurately portrayed a time in history with a real flare, serendipitously teaching her readers as she keeps them utterly captivated with her characters. Her descriptions of places and events is so vivid that it is easy to imagine being on the sugar plantation or sailing across the ocean.

The ending is a bit too easy and not quite believable. However, I am a sucker for a happy ending, so even if it is a little too slick, I was most happy to suspend my disbelief, especially because I was impressed by how much Elvy matured throughout the seven years of the story and how much she learned about both herself and her world. She did this without ever compromising her vision, a truly courageous feat. I highly recommend this book to all fans of historical fiction. It is an exciting, spine-tingling story.

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