Review: Through Tempest Forged by Barbara Passaris

Through Tempest Forged, a historical novel set in Virginia in 1775, is the story of the Rogers family and how they cope with their changing world as they and their neighbors must choose between the crown and the patriot resistance. Passaris portrays the rancor caused by these dueling loyalties, and the brutality that sometimes erupts, vividly and sometimes terrifyingly.

This novel, however, is as much as a story of the personal as the political. Paul and Elizabeth’s sons and daughters are of marriageable age, and the book follows their heartaches, joys, and tragedies as they mature. The characters, particularly the male ones, are complex and flawed, and Passaris brings them to life deftly. The dialogue is lively and realistic, and appropriately coarse at times. (And lines like “Virginia is what North Carolina would like to be” shows that some things haven’t changed over the years!)

Though this novel isn’t a romance novel, there are plenty of love stories here, including a very moving, unconventional one between John Peter Rogers and the prostitute’s daughter he befriends.

At times, I did think that the novel could have used a little more tightening. Sometimes, for instance, Passaris unnecessarily comments on what the characters are thinking and feeling when it’s readily apparent from their dialogue and their actions. This, however, is a decidedly minor flaw in an excellent first novel. I’m looking forward to the sequel.

You can find an interview with Barbara here.

5 thoughts on “Review: Through Tempest Forged by Barbara Passaris”

  1. Next to medieval history, I probably love the American Revolution the best. Thanks for writing about this novel — I’ll definitely have to add it to my collection. (By the way, Susan, this is “Lynn” — I changed my username to fit with my own blog so I’m using “LIS” now.)

  2. Susan Higginbotham

    It’s well worth a read! I have an interview with Barbara over at Yesterday Revisited (a blog to which I contribute).

  3. Lynn Irwin Stewart

    I’ll have to read that. And I’ve changed by username again this morning…I’m using the whole blasted thing now…

  4. HI, Susan and Lynn!

    This is Barb, the author of Through Tempest Forged. I’m so happy that you like this period in history. Thanks for the “press” Susan. Lynn, I hope that you’ll enjoy my work!

    Barbara Passaris

  5. Wendy Toliver

    I’m in the midst of reading this book. It’s easy to tell that Barbara Passaris has a great love, as well as knowledge, for this time period and part of the country. I look forward to Barbara’s future novels.

    Thanks for reviewing it.

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