The Rebellion of Jane Clarke - Sally Cabot Gunning Note: I won a copy of this book through participating in a Goodreads giveaway on this site. Thank you to Goodreads and the parties that made this possible.

I love historical fiction -- in fact, it is my second favorite genre behind fantasy. Even so, I could be quite particular about the kind of books I like to read. In historical fiction, for example, there are themes and specific time periods that I prefer.

Admittedly, American history in the 1700s and the American Revolution wouldn't have been on the top of my list. That said, I didn't think I was going to get into this book, but it surprised me.

The Rebellion of Jane Clarke begins with a conflict common in historical fiction: a young woman defies her father when she refuses the man he wishes her to marry. She is sent away from her idyllic home of Satucket on Cape Cod, to care for her ailing aunt in Boston. Once there, Jane experiences the tensions of the city firsthand. It is 1796, a precarious time -- the beginnings of the revolution can be felt in the air, as hostilities between the colonists and the king's soldiers continue to escalate.

At first, the title made me think I knew where Jane stood, but I soon found out I was wrong. The political ideologies of the era are at the forefront of this novel, but I was also pleasantly surprised to discover that it was much more than that. The Rebellion of Jane Clarke read more like a coming-of-age story, a tale of seeking independence and of self-discovery.

I enjoyed how the author handled the character development, mirroring the turmoil of the times to the protagonist's internal conflicts. While resentment ran between patriots and loyalists in the city, Jane struggles to come to terms with her own loyalties -- to her father, her brother, her family and friends...and most of all, to herself.

Like I said before, I didn't think I was going to get into a novel set in this time period, but I did. I find that my favorite historical fiction novels are the ones that inspire me to read more into the background of the setting and of the real people involved after I finish reading, and this book was no exception. In this case, this book motivated me to do further reading into the lives of John Adams and Henry Knox (both play major roles in the novel) as well as the Boston Massacre and the trials that came after. The Rebellion of Jane Clarke reminded me of the reasons why I love the genre -- gaining new historical perspectives and broadening my horizons.