Forge, Mar 2003, 24.95, 288 pp.
In 1780, the American Colonies close to the ocean are embroiled in hostilities with the English military. Further inland in places along the Ohio River, the locals barely feel the war. Most residents are neutrally ambivalent or lean towards loyalty to the crown with few freedom fighters. In Willow Creek, like most of the Ohio Valley settlements, the Revolution takes a back stage to farming and family. Luke Wilde works the land whether he is an English subject or an American citizen. However, his brother Jeremiah has wandered the wilderness and thus has a wider perspective so he desires freedom at any cost.
After being away for three years, Jeremiah returns to Willow Creek on the eve of his sibling's marriage to Annie Barnes. Jeremiah loves Annie, but knows she is better off with his brother, which is why he left in the first place. His arrival brings the British army to previously peaceful Willow Creek forcing the two brothers to join in arms against the oppressor while Annie remains wild about both men.
THE SETTLERS is an exciting historical tale that looks closely at a segment of American Revolutionary War society often ignored by textbooks. The vivid story line brings to the forefront the varying feelings including internal conflict towards the war and the crown. This leads to deep characterizations, at least on the colonial side. The English come across as caricatures because they appear as abusive brutes rather than concerned individual with some doubts about fighting their Anglo brothers. Fans of strong Americana novels will appreciate Roseanne Bittner's powerful trek to 1780 in the Ohio Valley.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner