Paper and Rags tells the tale of Jeremy Castor, a young man from Cornwall, England, forced by a press gang into the Royal Navy. As the War of 1812 comes to an end, he is cast adrift amid the unforgiving turmoil of frontier Kingston. To survive, he must navigate a society that is rough yet highly structured. The town suffers a painful recession and political reform simmers. Despite a paper shortage, broadsheets proliferate. Class warfare is waged daily in their pages. Jeremy manages to get into the good graces of an ambitious deacon, a lion of the establishment, but it’s unclear how long his benefaction will last.
Along the way, Jeremy meets three strong, beguiling women. Lilac Evans strives to escape her indenture to an abusive tailor by practicing medicine on the sly. Amelia Spafford, widowed from an enforced marriage to a colonel many decades her senior, vies to preserve her inherited estate from lotharios and swindlers. Lenore, wife of absent Major Stokes, wishes for a child and fights her loneliness by seeking chance meetings with Jeremy. As they struggle to find meaning and sustenance, the four become entwined with the mysterious Creedence Scriven, a wealthy doctor. Scriven hides a shameful secret. In the end, he and the others must sacrifice their very clothing to make the paper that will see their truth in print. Still, the discovery of Scriven’s secret and its publishing in the local Gazette changes everything.Read More