I’d been hankering for some historical fiction recently, and stumbling across Nancy E. Turner’s My Name Is Resolute seemed like destiny as it sounded like it fit the bill perfectly.
I was wrong.
Resolute Talbot is a young child growing up on her family’s plantation in 1720s Jamaica when pirates attack. Her siblings and her are captured to be sold into slavery in America; however, her brother decides a pirate’s life is for him so it’s just Resolute and her sister stranded in wintery New England and longing to go home. Learning to spin and weave among other chores previously performed for her by her own slaves, Resolute goes from servant to independent young woman to American spy as the colonies erupt in revolution.
I’m sorry to say, but I didn’t actually get to the revolution part. Now, I wouldn’t ordinarily review a book that I hadn’t completed (I know, I know), but I had such strong feelings about this one that were longing to erupt in place of the promised war. And in the spirit of independence and freedom of thought, I couldn’t resist them.
I hated Resolute. I can’t remember the last time I disliked a protagonist so fiercely, though Bella Swan comes to mind. Resolute is a child when the book begins, though I’m not exactly sure how old because the first few chapters have a slightly confusing timeline. Suffice to say that she’s probably 9 or 11 and unfortunately acts very much like it. Since we’re in her mind, that gets old quicker than she does. She’s constantly whining about her situation and wanting to go home, which is understandable, except she refuses to accept that her parents are dead and that home no longer exists. Additionally, she’s naively unaware that her sister is beaten and raped while attempting to protect her, and continuously complains about her sister.
It doesn’t get any better when she arrives in America and is sold into indentured servitude, a situation which I should sympathize with. However, she acts like such a petulant, selfish brat that it’s impossible to empathize with her, especially as she behaves cruelly towards a child with mental disabilities. Her idiocy and narcissism continue as a bear attacks and kills her juvenile crush, her village is captured by Native Americans and she is sent to a convent – a sequence of disasters unfolding in a more dry manner never existed.
That’s where I stopped, so perhaps she matures with age and the second half of the narrative is more engaging. But this first part was around 300 pages and I couldn’t stand another 300 – the book clocks in at a whopping 608. This is the first time in the history of this blog where I felt like I was wasting time on a tome since the writing style, heavy with infodump, drags down the tale further.
Maybe this rating isn’t fair, but what’s also not fair is adding another book to my one-handed tally of books I couldn’t finish, making it now a two-handed tally.