Women Sleuths in
Historical Mysteries

American Revolution, 1780 and 1781


Paper Woman

by Suzanne Adair

Sophie Barton runs a printing press in her small frontier town in Georgia, one of many women who worked jobs traditionally held by men in the colonial era. Upon learning of her father’s murder and determined to bring the perpetrators to justice, Sophie leaves the printing press behind and sets off on a harrowing journey from Georgia, through the swamps of Florida and settlement at St. Augustine, to end up in Cuba. She’s joined by her card shark brother, half Creek childhood sweetheart, and an older French born friend. Along the way the group falls in with various types who inhabited the rural colonial South, including run away slaves, Spanish spies, and Creek Indians.

In spite of the story’s innumerable and improbable knife and gun fights (a baddie seemingly on every corner) and the occasional modern expression, (“old girl, you do clean up nicely”), the author presents new perspectives on the colliding interests of the Continental Army, European nations, and colonists caught in the Southern theater of the war. We learn, for example, of the neutral position of most Southerners who neither supported the rebels nor the British, of the lives of Creek men and women, and of surprising acts of treachery between the rebels themselves.

Find an “Historical Afterwords” with information about womens’ roles, and a selected bibliography. Followup books, Blacksmith’s Daughter and Camp Follower, feature other female revolutionary war heroines - all related in some way to Sophie.



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