Publisher:
Wagner Wright Enterprises

Publication Date:
06/01/2023

Copyright Date:
N/A

ISBN:
978-1735413228

Binding:
Paperback

U.S. SRP:
14.99

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ARROGANCE, AMBITION & PRIDE

By Sandra Wagner-Wright

IR_Star-black
IR Rating:
3.5
Sandra Wagner-Wright's 's ARROGANCE, AMBITION & PRIDE details the rise of the Crowninshield and Derby merchant families in 18th-century New England with meticulous research and writing that falls a bit short on action and plot.

 

 

Captain Richard Derby has plans for all his children: sons to sea and to the counting house and advantageous marriages for his daughters. So when the Crowninsheild patriarch proposes an ambitious marriage alliance between his son George and eldest Derby daughter, Mary, the families’ fates start to intertwine. Despite George being “by every account unsuitable for her in terms of status,” Mary and her father agree to the union and set in motion a decades-long streak of cross-family marriage and rivalry. But when the colonies rebel against the British Crown, how will these merchants fare in all out war?

Set in colonial Massachusetts, Sandra Wagner-Wright’s ARROGANCE, AMBITION & PRIDE chronicles the rise of the Derbys and Crowinshields, two real 18th-century merchant families in Salem, as they compete for economic supremacy and social standing in a world on the brink of change. Despite their active businesses shipping goods all over the Atlantic, in 1757 these two clans are not social equals. Fitting for a multigenerational tale, the story is told from the points of view of various family members. But given the sheer number of narrators—many sharing the same first name—it’s difficult to keep track of who’s who even with a character list. This cacophony of voices, coupled with often stilted dialogue, results in shallower characterization for many individuals. Mary Crowninshield neé Derby is an exception. A modern-minded woman who never wished to “marry anyone who could control” her, Mary’s perspective of Salem society, child rearing, and her family’s changing business ventures anchors the overall narrative through the decades. Similar, in-depth characterization is given to her brother Hasket Derby, the brains of the Derby empire and the first American millionaire, and his ambitious wife, Eliza.

While the title may suggest high drama, ARROGANCE, AMBITION & PRIDE is rather a kind of slice-of-life novel of white middle-class colonial America. Conscientiously researched, it overflows with historical detail, but despite its Revolutionary War setting, has little on-page action or driving plot. This, along with an unhurried pace, can stagnate the story. The particular attention paid to food, fashion, and high society of the time, however, will satisfy history buffs and historical fiction readers alike. Author Wagner-Wright does an excellent job of conveying the social mores, class hierarchy, and dangers of the time—no matter how harsh they may seem to modern readers. From rigid gender roles to disease to underdeveloped medical care, the unforgiving reality of 18th century life is recounted without romanticization. Consipciously absent is any mention of the transatlantic slave trade.

Sandra Wagner-Wright’s ‘s ARROGANCE, AMBITION & PRIDE details the rise of the Crowninshield and Derby merchant families in 18th-century New England with meticulous research and writing that falls a bit short on action and plot.

~Remy Poore for IndieReader

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