Sunday, April 27, 2008

"Bound" Sally Gunning

"Bound" by Sally Gunning begins as we join young Alice Cole as she emmigrates to America with her father, mother, and two brothers. Her mother and brothers don't survive the trip and when she and her father reach their destination, her father "sells" her into kindly Mr. Morton's service until her 18th birthday. She learns to read, becomes friends with Abby Morton, Mr. Morton's daughter, but when Alice is 15 Abby marries and takes Alice with her. Emery Verley, Abby's new husbamd, turns out to be not quite the man he appears to be on the outside, and soon Alice is forced to flee from the Verley's. Alice ventures to the Boston harbor, where she stow's away on a ship headed for Cape Cod, and she meets widow Lyddie Berry and her boarder Eben Freeman.

As Alice settles into the comfortable life on Cape Cod, she encounters more trouble than she anticipated, and this trouble threatens to turn her life upside down and send her back to the hell that was the Verley's. Throughout her trials the kindly widow and her lawyer boarder stick by Alice and teach her about friendship and standing up for herself.

This historical novel was intended to show what kind of life was usually offered to those who were "bound", or essentially white slaves in America. I believe it to be historically accurate, and although Alice's story was embellished to create an interesting plot, it does offer a window into what the girls who were bound went through on a daily basis. They were no different from any other girl their age, with the exception that they were forced to become indebted to a family for their care, and the houses that they were indebted to were not always desirable. I believe that the author wished to bring attention to this often overlooked portion of history and through her interesting and informative writing style, I believe that she did as she intended.

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