*Book 1 in the Jamestown Sky Series*
Author Connie Lapallo is a descendent of one of the very few colonists who survived the “starving time” which almost annihilated the colony in 1610. With this personal interest in the early history of Virginia she has written a well-researched novel in which her ancestor, Joan Phippen Peirce, Joan’s five-year-old daughter, Jane, and their friend Temperance Yeardley, are the central characters. Dark Enough to See the Stars in a Jamestown Sky is “based on the true story of the women and children at Jamestown” in the years 1609 and 1610. Also populating the tale are the well-known and lesser-known leaders of the colony, their Native American antagonists, and a few fictitious characters representing generically the soldiers, mariners and colonists whose names are lost to history. Chief among these are Maggie Deale and Elizabeth Mayhew who “are fictitious but represent all those women whose names and stories are lost to time.”
As a girl, Joan was taught by her mother the use and value of herbs, a knowledge that stands her in good stead during the long sea voyage (with its week-long wild hurricane), as well as during the ravages of the “starving time.” Her determination to survive is born of her love for her daughter, empowered by her knowledge of things botanical, strengthened by her sisterly solidarity with her three friends and most fundamentally, anchored to her faith in Divine Providence. To her the acorns falling from the oaks were truly manna from above to be gathered, horded, ground and made into cakes when the common supply of food was exhausted. The frozen chickadee which fell at her doorstep was as welcome as the plumpest goose would have been. Yet not all the saving food fell from above. The women grubbed for edible roots and tubers with frozen and cracked hands while other less resourceful colonists gave in to despair and starvation, some losing their sanity before losing their lives.
This book is a labor of love, in honor of the author’s thirteenth and twelfth great grandmothers. As such it adds a granddaughter’s tenderness to the narrative. But it has the rigorousness of history, well documented in several appendices. Original documents are quoted and brief biographies of the historical figures are included.
Author: Connie Lapallo
Book 2: When the Moon Has No More Silver
Book 3: The Sun Is But A Morning Star