The Heritage: A Historical Novel
In The Heritage, author DJ Presson paints a very detailed and historically accurate view of life in 17th-century England. Her obviously painstaking research has helped her build settings and situations that are vivid and believable.
London in 1641 is no place to be publicly speaking out against the King, Charles I. Peppy, a talented young minstrel, leaves the local pub and soon learns this brutal lesson when he is viciously attacked by men loyal to the King. Mutilated and left for dead, Peppy is found by Nick Press, who carries him home to his family’s farm where Peppy is cared for and where he develops an unshakable loyalty to the Press family.
Nick’s younger sister, Anne, the central character in the novel, helps her father with his illegal printing press operation. In a shed on their tenant farm owned by Lord Percival Owen, the family prints writings by religious reformers and political broadsheets against the King, with some of the writing being done by Anne herself. Soon, the monarch is tried for treason, and it seems that all the work of the family and other anti-royalists has been successful.
Unfortunately, just when life seems to be looking up for the Press family, tragedy strikes. On Anne’s wedding day, the son of Lord Owen runs his carriage into her younger siblings, killing her sister Jane and shattering her little brother’s leg. Even with this tragedy, Anne tries to attain a somewhat happy life and soon has a son of her own to care for. Her happiness is short lived though, and her life is once more devastated when her husband, baby son, and mother all die of the sickness raging in the area.
Before this tragedy, Nick has asked Josiah Bonner for his daughter Rose’s hand, and while Bonner does not give his immediate approval, he does offer Nick two options: going into business with him as an apprentice or going to Virginia as an indentured servant in order to be granted land when his servitude is over. He opts for the first choice but soon must change his mind when Anne is raped by Rupert Owen, who is then stabbed by her protector, Peppy. He packs Anne up, and together they board ship for Virginia and a new life.
As Presson writes in her preface, “The Heritage is the story of our immigrant past and the struggles, hardships and heartache our ancestors endured to establish the rights we so often take for granted. It is the story of anyone of any era who has taken a chance and ventured into the unknown to become a foreigner in a foreign land.”
DJ Presson provides us with a glimpse into the life of an immigrant. And although this immigrant is one from the distant past, it could very well describe our present-day situation. This novel drives home the idea that people are still escaping very dangerous situations to make a life in a new world.
After editing at City Book Review for a few years, I took up the duties of editorial assistant, which include assigning books for review, posting reviews to our various sites, and nagging reviewers for things. In my non-nagging time, I’m a gamer, artist, writer, and notorious black thumb/bane of plants. My answer to every book-related question: read Octavia Butler.
|Author||D J Presson|
|Page Count||272 pages|
|Publisher||Kwill and Keebord Publishing, LLC|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|