Life in America circa 1,600 CE can’t have been easy, not with the English intent on stamping their domination and with the Puritans extolling so called Christian virtues to the extreme. As the saying goes: the more things change, the more it remains the same.
Annie’s Story provides a unique insider’s look into the world of newly emigrated people, the Scots, to a free land where they could safely continue worshipping their faith—Catholicism. For Annie, born into a world where one’s physical differences and abilities were considered the child of the devil, it was life threatening.
Annie was raised by her grandmother, a renowned Scottish healer, after her parents died from the plague. This story highlights the hardships endured by immigrants in a world vastly different to their own, who contend with harshness of the land, weather and hiding their beliefs from their neighbours—the Puritans.
Annie was a dwarf and a healer, born in the mid-17th century in Colonial America. Her family left Scotland to avoid the harsh and imperial rule of the English King Charles II, migrated to Massachusetts Bay area, not far from a Puritan settlement. Her grandmother, taught Annie the art and skills of ‘pagan’ medicine after witnessing her miraculously heal a man who almost died.
Annie’s grandmother, her best friend Janey, her parents and the Scottish community protect and shield Annie from outsiders, who don’t understand her physical and mental disabilities. The young girl heals a boy from the Puritan township, which they later become friends and then fall in love.
One of the subjects I am not overly familiar with is American history. The Civil War was perhaps its greatest exponents, as was Abraham Lincoln, and so when I started reading this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I read historical fiction, but tend to go for books that predate Christianity.
What intrigued and drew me to the story was that it was premised on a past-life regression, in this case, the author’s. Bowman prefaces the book with background information that she underwent an “age” regression, and in follow up sessions, learnt she lived in another time and went by the name of Annie. The book has facts interwoven within the story, about Annie, the period and the way people who were different were treated. It is evident a great deal of research has gone into the story, describing what life was like during Colonial America for migrants, the Indians and how the Puritans lived.
The use of Scottish phrases and terms is great and it remains true to the characters, but I would have preferred a glossary at the end of the book rather than the explanation within the narrative.
For readers who know little about America’s early history, Annie’s Story is a good introduction to life during a period of unrest in Colonial America. For those who know a lot more, you will enjoy the various historical elements that feature in this story.