Thursday, October 22, 2020

Review of "Mattey Whaley: Boy of Early Williamsburg," by Martha Macdonald Boelt

 Review of

Mattey Whaley: Boy of Early Williamsburg, by Martha Macdonald Boelt

Four out of five stars

Fairly accurate historical fiction

 Mattey Whaley is a boy that is almost ten years old and the story is set in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1705. He lives with his widowed mother on a farm and they own slaves. Although this is not explicitly mentioned. Mattey and his mother Mary Page  were real people, although most of the other immediate characters were not. Mattey has been suffering from a bit of a fever, for it is September and the air temperature is still very warm.

 This is the story of one day in his life, which was fairly typical of boys in the class of landowning families. Mattey pines for his own musket and lessons on how to use it. Not unusual for the time, boys were taught how to use firearms and hunt at a very early age.

Mattey and his mother take a day off school and take the buggy into town so that they can get some medication for Mattey’s ailments. They pass public buildings and other structures, and Mary Page explains them to Mattey. A boat has come up the river bearing materials needed for the operations of the townspeople and Mattey is eager to see the unloading process.

 This book was written for the explicit purpose of explaining some of the facts regarding historical Williamsburg. At the time of the story, it was the capitol of Virginia, one of the largest cities in the state. The authors succeed in their goal, the creation of a story for young people that brings history to life in an understandable manner.

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