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The Jamestown Brides: The Bartered Wives of the New World

Jennifer Potter

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Atlantic Books
05 August 2019
Biography: historical, political & military; History; British & Irish history; History of the Americas; Early modern history: c 1450 to c 1700; Social & cultural history
In 1621, fifty-six English women crossed the Atlantic in response to the Virginia Company of London's call for maids 'young and uncorrupt' to make wives for the planters of its new colony in Virginia. The English had settled there just fourteen years previously and the company hoped to root its unruly menfolk to the land with ties of family and children.

While the women travelled of their own accord, the company was in effect selling them at a profit for a bride price of 150lbs of tobacco for each woman sold. The rewards would flow to investors in the near-bankrupt company. But what did the women want from the enterprise? Why did they agree to make the dangerous crossing to a wild and dangerous land, where six out of seven European settlers died within their first few years - from dysentery, typhoid, salt water poisoning and periodic skirmishes with the native population? And what happened to them in the end?

Delving into company records and original sources on both sides of the Atlantic, Jennifer Potter tracks the women's footsteps from their homes in England to their new lives in Virginia. Giving voice to these forgotten women of America's early history, she triumphantly invites the reader to journey alongside the brides as they travel into a perilous and uncertain future.
By:   Jennifer Potter
Imprint:   Atlantic Books
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   Main
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 27mm
Weight:   355g
ISBN:   9781782399162
ISBN 10:   178239916X
Pages:   384
Publication Date:   05 August 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Jennifer Potter is the author of four novels and six works of non-fiction, most recently The Jamestown Brides, The Untold Story of England's 'maids for Virginia' (Atlantic, 2018). Other titles published by Atlantic include The Rose, A True History; Seven Flowers And How They Shaped Our World; and Strange Blooms, The Curious Lives and Adventures of the John Tradescants. A long-time reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement and an accredited Royal Literary Fund (RLF) Consultant Fellow, she currently runs writing workshops for students and staff at British universities and was recently appointed one of the first RLF Writing Fellows at the British Library.

Reviews for The Jamestown Brides: The Bartered Wives of the New World

Compelling... A pleasure to read. * BBC History Magazine * An evocative and painstakingly researched account of these early female settlers, who have lacked a voice, an identity, even a name, until now. From 400 years ago, they step from these pages and speak to us. -- Hilary Davies * The Tablet, 'Books of the Year' * I love this kind of historical writing, with the stitching showing. There is a story here, but it is Potter's skilful guidance through the disparate sources that makes it work. Engaged and thoughtful, she has given her women an existence they would recognise. -- Lucy Moore * Literary Review *


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