The Colonies lost the Revolutionary War. Now it’s 1839 and the North American continent is divided into three territories: New Britannia, Nueva Espana, and Nouvelle France where seventeen-year-old Claire Poissant lives.
Claire has a magical way with words—literally. But a mystical power of persuasion isn’t the only thing that makes her different. Half-French and half-Indian, Claire doesn’t feel at home in either world. Maybe that’s why she’s bonded so tightly with her fellow outcasts and best friends: Phileas, a young man whose towering intellect and sexuality have always made him the target of bullies, and Sam, a descendant of George Washington who shares the disgraced general’s terrible, secret curse.
But when Sam’s family is murdered, these bonds are tested and Claire’s special ability is strained to its limits as the three hunt the men responsible into dangerous lands. Along the way they cross paths with P.T. Barnum, William Frankenstein and other characters from both history and fantasy as they learn the hard way that man is often the most horrific monster and that growing up sometimes means learning to let go of the things you hold most dear.
I've often heard over the years, "Imagine what it would be like if Germany won WWII," or "What if Rome never fell," or similar suppositions. Our lives would most certainly be different in those eventualities. In Sullivan's book, Silver Tongue, we get a fascinating look into how life might be in 1839 if the US had lost the Revolutionary War.
There are many more intriguing aspects peppered through the story of Claire, Phileas and Sam. three young people who just don't quite fit in with 'society'. They face problems in this re-imagined past that are still prevalent for people today. Claire is of mixed race and not fully accepted by 'purebloods' of either group. Phileas is a geek whose sexuality makes him a target for reactionary elements of that society. Ben's major problem, it seems, was being born - as a descendant of George Washington, who, having been on the 'losing' side, was disgraced.
And I have to mention the appearances of P.T. Barnum and William Frankenstein et al. I'm always delighted when authors take elements from different aspects of history and mix them together, or when they take real-life historical figures and flesh out with fiction how their stories might have played out.
Claire's magic definitely worked on me, but maybe not quite the way it worked on other characters. You see, Claire has the ability to affect people's behavior with her words. She is concerned with the limits of her power. How far should she go with her ability and where does the scale tip in terms of justice for her and her friends vs others rights to live their own lives as they see fit.
I thoroughly enjoyed Silver Tongue by AshleyRose Sullivan. The action was well-paced. The characters had depth and held my interest throughout the book. I look forward to reading other works.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Born and raised in Appalachia, AshleyRose Sullivan now lives, writes, and paints in Los Angeles. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University and her first novel, Awesome Jones: A Superhero Fairy Tale is available from Seventh Star Press. She can be found at her website or her blog, My Year Of Star Trek.
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(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)