I really only read fictional books about women written by women. Otherwise, life is too short to read all the books I want to read.
So why would I read a book about New York written by a man? I love the city. So I picked up New York by Edward Rutherford. It’s a saga through the ages, starting about 1664 and ending in 2009. It follows a few families through the eras to dramatize the events of the times.
Most of the protagonists in the story are men who are doing things like creating wealth and grabbing power. I’m so accustomed to that sort of story that the book went down easy, like vanilla pudding.
Then I wondered, what would it be like to see New York through a woman’s eyes?
I don’t believe the myth that in history “women had no power.” They had informal power. Call it influence, if you wish. But if Rutherford had examined New York through women’s eyes, it would have been a more interesting book. And, of course, harder to write.
New York is a well-researched book, and the tidbits of historical detail blend in so smoothly it makes it hard to remember much about the earlier chapters. Most striking about the book was it seemed–for many pages–that George Washington was going to lose the Revolutionary War.
As we both know, the War ended well. But I’d have liked to see how Martha Washington felt about the whole thing.