Whipponock Creek

Life and Times of Will Traylor

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
370 Pages
Reviewed on 06/03/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Whipponock Creek: Life and Times of Will Traylor by Ronnie Pastecki is a historical fiction novel that delves into the life of William Traylor. Set in Dinwiddie, Virginia, during the era of slavery, the story revolves around Will's upbringing on his father's plantation, Tall Pines. With a comfortable lifestyle and a devout Christian background, Will's values of humility and hard work are worlds away from the deleteriously carefree nature of his best friend, Charles Crowder, heir to a neighboring plantation. At a young age, Will marries Priscilla "Duck" Perkinson, and together they start a family. When Virginia becomes embroiled in the Seven Years' War, Will manages to avoid military enlistment by purchasing an exemption. However, as the Revolutionary War erupts, circumstances change. With his brothers and eldest son joining the cause, Will's growing family and the tragic loss of Duck push him toward a sense of duty.

The exhaustively researched and vividly detailed Whipponock Creek offers an insightful exploration of one man's personal journey during a tumultuous period in American history. Ronnie Pastecki's dedication to historical accuracy shines through, lending an air of authenticity to the narrative. I did not know when I picked the novel up that some of the pieces of this colorful life tapestry were crafted from one of the author's ancestors and this fact somehow makes the whole book feel more personal. The scope of William Traylor's life is massive and readers should be ready for this when they start the novel, as patience and perseverance will be necessary with its slow start. It does pay off. The standout aspect of the book is the depiction of Will's scouting work during the war. The scenes are meticulously crafted, capturing the intensity and danger of the battlefield, and this is one of the most interesting and historically accurate fictional accounts I have come across in some time. While the writing occasionally leans towards being overly embellished and the narrative can be verbose, this is counterbalanced in a literary landscape where the focus often gravitates toward the Civil War and Whipponock Creek offers a refreshing perspective on a time often overshadowed. Recommended.