Newly reissued - you
may purchase an autographed copy here. It is also available
on Amazon and the other on-line book sources. Special
bonus for Lucia's Internet fans: Anicah
Sparrow's Bedside Companion: A Glossary is now available.
The publisher has this to say:
Land is a truly American novel of dreams and courage. As
the ship Charity sails from England across the Atlantic, two vastly
different yet equally courageous women make the perilous journey.
Strong-willed, upper-class Margaret Brent has decided to make better use of her
dowry than to hand it over to some doddering squire. She has invested in
Lord Baltimore's Maryland plantation, because the new colony is her single
chance for a home of her own and the right to practice openly her Catholic
Anicah is a teenage guttersnipe who lives by her wits and quick tongue.
Kidnapped off the streets of Bristol, she is transported to the New World and
indentured to Samuel Smythe, a local tavern keeper.
For Margaret and Anicah, the future is different from any they might have
Never mind what the Publisher says. Here's what
reader Sherman LaFolette e-mailed:
Lucia, I am simply amazed
at the richness, the intimate detail of the life as you describe it.
How do you achieve this? It is as if you time-traveled back
to the 17th century and took notes! Seriously, I am at a loss of
how you manage to portray the life as you do. It does seem written
by one who lived during the period." Lucia is too modest to
include what Sherman added,
"You are an incredible woman!" ; }
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"Lucia St. Clair Robson has an
extraordinary ability to hear the particular human music that runs deep in
history." --Anne River Siddons
"If the publishing industry gave an award
for historical novels, Mary's
would win the Best of the Best.
Outstanding!" -- Fern Michaels
"Richly detailed, first-rate tale...
Memorable characters, scenes, and lilting dialogue; a stylish, superior
historical." -- Kirkus Reviews
"Brims with authentic detail and
dialect." -- Publishers Weekly
Book club discussion points for Mary's
(p222 of the new edition: Anicah Sparrow has an altercation with
Joan Parke in Smythe's pub)
"D'ye call me a liar, ye draggle-tail little
"Aye, Miss Parke, and a prater of much nonsense."
Anicah looked up at her, her eyes wide and innocent. "And if ye've not
f***ked an Indian yerself, 'tis the only creature to escape yer attentions, as
any mangy dog in the village can attest."
"A cluster of poxes on ye and no pesthouse to pity ye."
Joan looked down menacingly from her stance atop the table. "Meddle with
me and I shall fling ye into the fire."
The men who had crowded around for a view up Joan's
petticoat tails moved prudently away.
"Then ye shall want a poker to turn me till I'm done."
Anicah seized the iron rod from the hearth and with
both hands swung it across the tabletop at ankle level. Joan hopped in an
effort to avoid it, but her feet tangled with it and flew out from under her.
She toppled, one mighty buttock hitting the edge of the table with a thud.
She rolled off and landed on her back on the floor with her legs in the air.
. "God scald ye, ye reeking notch," Joan screamed.
Still brandishing the poker, Anicah backed toward the
street door. Outside she would have more room to maneuver and to run.
She knew the poker wouldn't stop Joan, and that she would most likely get hurt.
At least she had distracted her from her lies about Mistress Mary.
With head lowered and an arm raised to fend off the
poker, Joan charged. She butted Anicah in the chest, braced her feet, and
pushed. Anicah dropped the poker and grabbed fistfuls of Joan's snarled,
ember-red hair. She yanked with all her strength, but Joan bowled her over as
though she were no more obstacle than another head louse.
At that instant the door opened and the women's
momentum carried them through it. They hit Giles Brent who had been about
to enter and sent him backward into the ankle-deep slush of melted snow, ice,
mud, and pig feces. To compound insult and injury, they landed on top of
him. Everyone in the taproom squeezed out the door and into the yard to
watch and wager.
"Damn me!" Giles struggled to extricate himself,
but Joan and Anicah continued biting and scratching and flailing at each other.
"Damn me, I say, do help me here."
Robert Vaughan waded in to separate the women.
Harry Angell gave Giles an arm up. He solicitously tried to brush the mud
off with his hat, but only succeeded in smearing it around.
"Such a shame, squire. 'Twere yer new red velvet
too." If there was irony in Harry's voice, Giles couldn't hear it over
Joan's caterwauling. "They are women of quarrelsome measure, yer honor,"
Harry added, as though Giles couldn't figure it out.
"'Sdeath!" Giles looked for something to beat
them with. He had just decided on the flat of his sword when Dinah
appeared in the doorway.
"The tapster's dead." No one heard her above the
hubbub. She shouted the news again. "The tapster's dead."
Lucia with a scoundrel outside of the ordinary in Historic
St. Mary's City...
(Thanks to re-enactors everywhere for making history accessible and fun.)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
While Lucia was writing the story of Anicah Sparrow and the Brent
sisters she happened to hear on the radio "Dances from Terpsichore" by Praetorius.
The music had such a sassy lilt that she could imagine it playing as Anicah worked
her pickpocket art on the teeming streets of Bristol.
The piece prompted her to dub a soundtrack of music that
evokes the earthy, rollicking flavor of the times and the people.
Besides Praetorius, she was inspired by the 17th century tunes
of Anonymous Four, Baltimore Consort, New York Ensemble for Early Music,
Medieval Babes, the Merry Companions' "Art of the Bawdy Song," music by
Hildegard Von Bingen, Maggie Sansome and the Ensemble Galilei, and "Rondo for
Glass Harmonica," from Glass Harmonica from Mozart's Time."
The songs include "My Thing Is My Own," "Ladie Lie near
Me." "Come, Let Us Drink, "Viridissima Virga," "Tomorrow Will Be My Dancing
Music infuses every period of history, and gives a
glimpse into the past that is part telescope, part microscope, part kaleidoscpe.