Utterly realistic novel
If, like me, you read historical fiction because we lack time-travel machines, you will devour Morgan Wade’s Bottle and Glass. Here’s a round-trip ticket to the War of 1812 as Canadians, kidnapped—a.k.a. “impressed”—recruits, and their wives and mothers experienced it. You’ll despair with the hero as the Crown’s officers rip him and his cousin from their family, lie sleepless with them in their hammocks aboard ship, feel their desperate hunger and thirst—for this utterly realistic novel reminds us that victuals were scanty or altogether absent for earlier generations—, taste the alcohol that drowns their many miseries, pine with them for home. Disdaining to romanticize the past, Bottle and Glass instead dramatizes the fears, disasters and petty struggles for survival when an empire’s war ensnares the innocent—and the love that vanquishes such daunting hardships.