book review: The Rebellion of Jane Clarke by Sally Gunning

The Rebellion of Jane Clarke: A NovelThe backstory: Many people recommended Bound, one of Sally Gunning's previous novels to me, but I never got around to reading it because I seem to favor newly released books. When the chance to read Gunning's latest novel appeared, however, I eagerly said, yes please!

The basics: Jane Clarke is an intrepid young woman in 1769 in Satucket (Cape Cod), Massachusetts. Her rebellion begins when she decides not to marry the man her father wants her to. Her father sends her to Boston to take care of her aunt, and Jane finds herself in the midst of a political battle.

My thoughts: This book could just as easily be called The Rebellions of Jane Clarke or The Rebellious Jane Clarke because there are indeed several rebellions depending on one's perspective. To a modern reader, however, the title suits because her rebellion exists in the context of her world. Jane is an interesting character. She lives a rather isolated life, in both Satucket and Boston. The first fifty pages were a bit slow because there were so many characters and few of them seemed to have any real meaning. Once Jane chooses not to marry, however, the action picks up a bit.

Seeing a pre-1776 U.S. was fascinating, but it left me wanting more. Perhaps given the context, I would have preferred a male narrator to alternate with Jane's story. I'm a huge fan of multiple narrators, and I think it might have added more historical information in this instance.

Despite enjoying both Jane and the setting, the pacing of this novel was off for me. A slow fifty pages in a book of less than three hundred is troubling, but not insurmountable. I had a bigger problem with flow. Sections were often only a few paragraphs. Staring at a two-page spread, there was almost always at least once break. I longed for more, and the short scenes and single narrator shielded me from getting more.

Favorite passage: "Her father spoke as he thought; her stepmother did neither."

The verdict: I loved the setting and the storyline, but the pacing was a bit off for me and hindered me from fully engaging. Overall, I liked it, but I wanted to love it.

Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
Length: 270 pages
Publication date: June 1, 2010 (it's in paperback now)
Source: I received this book for review from the publisher via TLC Book Tours

Get to know Sally by visiting her website or Facebook page, then treat yourself by buying The Rebellion of Jane Clarke from Amazon (Kindle version) or an independent bookstore.

Want more opinions? Check out the full list of tour stops.

As an affiliate, I receive a  small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!


  1. I have been wanting to read this one, but am really paying attention to the fact that you mention that it's a slow start. I have read Gunning's work in the past, and actually have another of her books on my shelf, but I may wait awhile on this one. Thanks for the candid review.

  2. Darn, I wish the one had turned out better for you. Still, thanks for being on the tour.


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