The Printer and The Strumpet
Boston,1773. Leeds Merriweather is a printer trying to do the impossible: tread a narrow line of rationality between the Patriots and the Tories. His push for rationality isn’t easy, and it’s made all the harder by the fact that, due to a game of cards gone horribly wrong, Governor Thomas Hutchinson winds up owning two-thirds of his newspaper. As if all that weren’t bad enough, a radical-minded young woman keeps waltzing into his shop, inflaming him with her opinions and her bright laugh.
If you pick up The Printer and the Strumpet looking for a serious take on the American Revolution, you will probably be disappointed. Luckily, from the very first page, Brill tells us exactly what the tone of this book will be. It’s a wonderful cross between irreverent and tongue-in-cheek, tossing in modern references with a devil-may-care attitude that is wonderfully refreshing. Even in 2020, I burst out giggling at the phrases “fake news” and “alternative facts.” I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s escapist, but if it does provide an escape, it’s from the seriousness so many of us have felt (and felt forced into). I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much over a historical book, much less one about a topic usually treated with such reverence.
The book isn’t all humor all the time, though. Trying to be a centrist in such a divided era is rife with danger, and Merriweather faces peril from both sides of the aisle. The Sons of Liberty are angry that he’s working with Hutchinson, even under duress, while Hutchinson and his cronies aren’t too thrilled about the radical opinions that somehow keep finding their way into his paper. When the anonymous Watertown Times Forger appears on the scene, it only adds more powder to the keg.
It’s hard to find lots of impressive words to describe The Printer and the Strumpet because the word that works best is also one of the simplest I could use: it’s fun. It’s also fast-paced, clever, and just a little wicked, but most importantly, it’s a lot of fun to read. I read the whole thing over the course of a morning, and I have little doubt I’ll be back again. I recommend this most for people stuck in lockdown with too much time on their hands, or for stressed essential workers who can only get through a few short chapters at a time. This winter, we’ll all need a good laugh.
|Page Count||320 pages|
|Publisher||Black Tie Books|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|