Manhattan: Seeds of the Big Apple by Gloria Waldron Hukle AuthorHouse
reviewed by Terry Lacy
"If anyone had told her that she would leave her family and travel to the other end of the earth before she was twenty-five, Tennake would have thought that the poor soul had lost all wit."
Manhattan: Seeds of the Big Apple takes a long overdue look into the rich history of the formative years of one of the most famous pieces of real estate in the world. The story of Manhattan being purchased for $27 worth of beads is famous, but how much is known of what happened next? What is known of the settlers who tried to live there, or the Native Americans who lived alongside them?
We follow the young Dutch woman, Tennake (pronounced Ten-ake) and her new husband Resolved as they travel to the new world to face the unknown. Confronted with both friendly and hostile natives, slaves, and the possibility of single-handedly raising her husband's three children from a previous marriage, Tennake is a girl trying to hold onto her roots while forging her new destiny. Resolved is a man true to his name, determined to protect his family at all costs.
The story holds its own resolution, using clear and distinct language to illuminate the times. All too often, it is easy for historical novels to become bogged down in dry facts, yet Manhattan navigates this murky swamp with distinct skill. The history is delivered with short, precise details, such as the dipping of bread into the communal bowl of chicken stock for the meal, and in the description of the thatched roofs of the buildings in the surrounding villages.
This novel is a great read for those wanting a glimpse into history through skilled storytelling. Unpretentious and inviting, it is a tale of hardship and determination, of hope and survival. It is the reason writers write.