Immerse yourself in the “what if” questions related to the Lost Colony of Roanoke when a native princess meets an English widower.
Born the daughter of a Powhatan chieftain and a woman of unknown origins, Matoaka enjoys a carefree life. When strange men from across the eastern waters appear near her home, she regards them at first as a mere curiosity. Soon, though, she finds herself torn between friendship with one of their leaders and the opinions and politics of her elders. Drawn to a young Englishman, John Rolfe, who has lost a wife and baby daughter, she shares his griefs. . .and perhaps something more. Could she have a future among the English of Jamestown, accepting their ways and even changing her name? Could her fate be a part of the lasting legacy of the Lost Colony of Roanoke?
Author Shannon McNear portrays history with vivid authenticity.
Transplanted to North Dakota after more than two decades in Charleston, South Carolina, Shannon McNear loves losing herself in local history. She’s a military wife, mom of eight, mother-in-law of three, grammie of two, and a member of ACFW and RWA. Her first novella, Defending Truth in A Pioneer Christmas Collection, was a 2014 RITA® finalist. When she’s not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies. Connect with her at www.shannonmcnear.com, or on Facebook and Goodreads.
More from Shannon
Daughters of the Lost Colony—how are we at book 3 already? I’m both excited and nervous about this one, which features Pocahontas and the original Jamestown. Why did I choose her, and this place, when the overall series is about the Lost Colony?
Among their various other aims, the Jamestown colonists were charged with finding the Roanoke Colony. John Smith’s own reports reference this, and one can sense his discouragement and frustration over their inability to find answers on the fate of those who came to the New World before them. William Strachey, early secretary to the colony, stated that Powhatan (that is, the paramount chieftain often called by the same name as his people group) had slain the last known survivors of the Roanoke Colony. But nowhere is that claim substantiated.
There were no solid historical connections between the Lost Colony and Pocahontas—so I created a plausible fictional one in the form of Emme Merrimoth, a historically documented member of the Roanoke Colony who in book 1, Elinor, experienced the fictional adventure of being carried captive to the Powhatan nation. Where Strachey lists the names of the paramount chieftain’s favored wives, I put Emme in the place of the real-life Winganuske.
I knew the research would be challenging on this one. What I didn’t expect was to find Emme’s aspect of this story so compelling—or to fall in love with Wahunsenecawh, the great Powhatan himself. The name alone is intimidating, but you can find sound clips of how to pronounce it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q_10PYf_0U and here: https://www.nameslook.com/wahunsenacawh/ (ignore the weird stuff and click on the little red arrows for different voices). There are at least five or six documented ways to spell it, and the one I picked is probably the most obscure. I had a year to get used to saying it, but repeat after me, slowly: wah-HUN-senacoh. Or wah-HOON-senacah, depending upon which rule you use for the U in Algonquian pronunciation, and how you interpret that “wh” at the end.
Names overall were an issue with this story. A few reviewers have already mentioned this difficulty. The thing is, in Native culture, especially what we know of the Eastern Algonquian-speaking peoples, a name wasn’t simply a casual identifier—it defined a person’s entire identity. We don’t know what most of the names recorded from that time meant, but we can be sure they weren’t chosen lightly, and they were valued by those who held them. Indeed, a change of name often accompanied a change of purpose. It has even been suggested that if the English had been paying attention, they’d have realized when Opechancanough changed his name shortly before the great attack of 1622, it signaled a critical shift in his attitude toward them.
So when you read this story, you may find it helpful to keep a finger in the cast list—or to place a bookmark on that page if you’re reading the Kindle version. Thank you so much, again, for taking this journey with me!
Rebecca is written by Shannon McNear. This is book three in the Daughters of the Lost Colony series. I have really enjoyed this series and appreciate all the research that the author has put into the series to make it feel as real feeling as possible.
Matoaka was born the daughter of a Powhatan chieftain. She is intrigued when the strange men come from across the eastern waters. The author does a great job switching between the POV of the English and the Native Americans. Matoaka is intrigued by these men. She strikes up a friendship with one, and her elders are quite worried about it.
Since this is set in the 1600's things were so different back then. The author does such a great job portraying the struggles from both sides. Seeing as they would do anything to survive shows how far we have come. Seeing the friendship unfold despite the elder's protests was heartwarming. The author has done a wonderful job with this series.
Thank you to the author, publisher and Celebrate Lit for allowing me to read a copy of this boo - all thoughts are my own.