Primary Resource

"World of Books" (1899)

In this short notice, published on March 6, 1899, an anonymous writer for The Macon Telegraph reports on critical praise for the novel Prisoners of Hope by Mary Johnston. Set in 1663, the novel is based in part on the Gloucester County Conspiracy, which involved a planned rebellion by indentured servants, who intended to march on the home of Governor Sir William Berkeley (and not, as the review suggests, Robert Dinwiddie, who served as lieutenant governor from 1751 until 1758).

Transcription from Original

Prisoners of Hope, a story of colonial Virginia, by Mary Johnston—This historical novel of colonial Virginia has received the heartiest praise from all quarters for its power, its graphic portrayal of society and life in the time of Governor Dinwiddie, and its uncommon literary attraction.

The London Spectator says: "Miss Johnston lays her scene in Virginia in the days of Charles II, and tells the romantic and tragical love-story of Godfrey Landless and Patricia Verney—the convict Roundhead and the Royalist beauty—with a delicacy and charm, to say nothing of her historical and local knowledge."

The Boston Advertiser remarks: "Brave men and sweet women pass before us, men whom it is ennobling to rea dabout [sic] men with the soul of honor, who do and dare, and women who are the very symbol of truth and purity * * * Miss Johnston's descriptions of the scenery are very delightful."