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Reviewed by Essien Asian for Readers' Favorite
The year is 1776, and the Redcoats are engaged in a brutal battle with the rebels for the soul of America. Sarah Barrett is unconvinced about which side to take in these trying times until she gets aboard the Defiance, a floating prison where the loyalists hold their prisoners. Her mind quickly changes upon discovering personal ties to one of the unfortunate souls. Sarah’s determination to play an important part in the war effort is pushed into overdrive. To devise a daring plan, she deploys the numerous talents she had been unable to use because she is a woman. Will she succeed or be the next victim of the hangman’s noose in Jane Hulse’s Prisoner of Wallabout Bay?
Love proves to be a powerful motivator in perilous times, as the storyline of Jane Hulse’s historical fiction novel shows. She uses the turning point of the American War of Independence to set the backdrop for an amazing adventure story. Her characters are well-rounded, with interesting backstories and multifaceted depth from a combination of imaginative writing and well-documented research. Hulse’s attention to detail is impressive. This reflects in the conversations between the characters and her descriptions of the era-accurate mindset at the time regarding the diminished expectations of women in a male-dominated society. I could not help feeling sympathy toward the emotional and ideological battle Mrs. Barrett fights because of her daughter’s choices and concern for the pressure Lt. Pritchard must deal with while discharging his duties. All of these come together nicely to create the immersive and riveting story of Prisoner of Wallabout Bay. This is an exceptional novel by all standards.