Knowledge Base Glossary    Contact Us
Browse by Category
Knowledge Base .: Archives Fiction and Non-Fiction Reviews .: Historical Fiction .: Reviewer: N. Goldman .: The Rising Shore: Roanoke

The Rising Shore: Roanoke

Author: Deborah Homsher

ISBN: 13: 978-0-9790-51560-9

           10: 0-9790-5160-6


 Inspired by true events concerning the first British attempt to establish a foothold in North America, Deborah Homsher’s  The Rising Shore:Roanoke presents a novel with compelling fictionalized details that probably surpass the actual facts that she briefly outlines  in the book’s postscript.

The tale focuses on the 1587 Roanoke voyage that was commissioned by Sir Walter Raleigh in order to establish a permanent English settlement in North America. Roanoke Island is an island  about twelve miles long and three miles wide and lies along the outer banks of present-day North Carolina and although its history is lesser known than Jamestown, its lessons probably helped establish the latter.

Homsher’s saga zeroes in on two strong-willed teenage women, Elenor White who was married to a brickmaker, Ananias Dare and Margaret Lawrence. These two women were part of the company of men, women, children and servants who set sail from London in April of 1587 to North America. The voyage would take them through the Caribbean and ultimately end up in the Outer Banks region.

Elenor Dare was the daughter of John White, an artist of considerable merit and imagination. Raleigh had placed great trust in White’s leadership and organizational abilities and as a result he also appointed him Governor of the new colony. It should be mentioned, as Homsher indicates in her postscript, that the skeleton of her novel is based on actual facts that were recorded by John White in letters to his patrons and illuminated by historians, notably David Beers Quinn.


As for Lawrence, Homsher depicts her as Dare’s servant based on the fact, as she mentions in the postscript, that if she were the same person mentioned in the actual list of women who were part of the company, she would have been slightly younger than Dare and unattached. As Homsher notes, “an unattached woman of that age was probably a servant.”

While the tale reflects Homsher’s vivid imagination, it also raises some very interesting questions about the real lives of these two characters that came from very different backgrounds. Reading Homsher’s yarn, we can’t help wondering what motivated these women, as well as the others, to undertake such a venture when you consider, as we learn, that the settlers encountered all kinds of harrowing experiences including storms at sea, shortage of food supplies, inhospitable natives, mutiny, and sickness. And as for Elenor White Dare herself, it should be pointed out that she was pregnant throughout the voyage, eventually giving birth to the first English child born in North America.

What is more, due to his apparent weak leadership, White encountered considerable difficulties with his men particularly with pilot Simon Fernandes who refused to transport the group to Chesapeake Bay where they were eventually planning to settle. Consequently, the group was forced to remain on Roanoke Island and as there were limited supplies, Governor White eventually was obliged to leave for England in order to gather more provisions. It would be another three years before White returned to the Island and unfortunately what he discovered was an empty abandoned fort and the word “Croatoan” carved into a post. The colony was lost forever and its mystery left undisturbed on the coast of North America.

This is Homsher’s first foray into the world of fiction and make no mistake The Rising Shore: Roanoke is the work of a powerful talent whose elegant and lyrical words as well as her characters’ speech patterns and dialogue give the book much of its considerable strength.

Moreover, she shows great authorial control as she vividly captures the diverse feelings and musings of Elenor and Margaret, shifting fluidly between them as she devotes a chapter at a time to each. Her characters are realistically portrayed and historical personalities and facts are skillfully woven into the text.   

The Rising Shore: Roanoke also presents a stark, haunting portrait of humanity stripped bare as Homsher is unflinching in her descriptions of the cruelties that some of the company’s members suffered at the hands of their brutal masters.

There is no question of Homsher’s commitment to her subject matter and even though the novel is historical fiction, she nonetheless has succeeded in making her readers feel a part of a world that existed over four hundred years ago.

The above review was contributed by:  NORM GOLDMAN:  Retired Title Attorney: Editor & Publisher of Bookpleasures. Here are  Norm Goldman's Reviews       

 To read Norm's Interview with Deborah Homsher CLICK HERE

Related Articles

article A Conversation With Deborah Homsher Author of The Rising Shore: Roanoke
Author: Deborah HomsherISBN: 13: 978-0-9790-51560-9           10: 0-9790-5160-6Today, Norm Goldman, Publisher & Editor of is pleased to have as our guest, Deborah Homsher, author of The Rising Shore:

(No rating)  2-23-2007    Views: 7983   
article River Rising
Author: Athol DicksonISBN: 076420162X The following review of the ARC copy of the book was contributed by:NORM GOLDMAN:  Editor of Bookpleasures. CLICK TO VIEW  Norm Goldman's Reviews The year is 1927 during the great Mississippi flood when Athol Dickson's latest novel, River Rising, unfolds.  Rev. Hale Poser arrives early one morning, poling a boat you stand in called a pirogue into the stilt village of Pilotville, Louisiana.  A recent discovery of a manila envelope in the attic of an old...

(No rating)  12-11-2005    Views: 6904   
article Ancient Rising
 Author: J C De La TorreISBN: 1-4116-4265-1The following review was contributed by: Theresa Derwin:  Click Here To Read Theresa's Reviews12,000 years ago, a human possessing god-like power imprisoned the Gods of ancient Greece in Atlantis. The Gods have been waiting millennia for humanity to gain enough power to find Atlantis and release them from their prison. But only a mortal’s hands can do the job. Danny Ryan, recent widow, bereaved of his wife and daughter is visited by Hermes, (the only...

(No rating)  4-19-2006    Views: 5264   
article AIDS Orphans Rising
Click Here To Purchase AIDS Orphans Rising  Author: Sister Mary Elizabeth Lloyd ISBN:  978-1932690477

(No rating)  6-4-2008    Views: 5001   
article Shuttle Rising: To Rendezvous With A Rumor
 Author: Charles Boyle: ISBN: 0965721450The following review was contributed by: NORM GOLDMAN:  Editor of Bookpleasures. CLICK TO VIEW  Norm Goldman's ReviewsTo read Norm's Interview With the Author CLICK HERECharles Boyle's absorbing tale, Shuttle Rising: To Rendezvous With A Rumor makesexcellent use of his profound knowledge of space research and technologyresulting in some very imaginative plot twists. Boyle's writing has appeared inScience and Omni magazines and he has served as space...

(No rating)  12-5-2005    Views: 6755   
article Charles Boyle, Author of Shuttle Rising: To Rendezvous With A Rumor. Interviewed
 Author: Charles Boyle:  ISBN: 0965721450The following interview was conducted by: NORM GOLDMAN:  Editor of Bookpleasures. CLICK TO VIEW  Norm Goldman's ReviewsTo read Norm's Review of  Shuttle Rising: To Rendezvous With A Rumor  CLICK HEREToday, Norm Goldman, Editor of is pleased to have as ourguest, Charles Boyle, author of Shuttle Rising: To Rendezvous With A Rumor.Good day Charles and thank you for agreeing to participate in

(No rating)  12-5-2005    Views: 6756   

User Comments

No comments have been posted.

.: Powered by Lore 1.5.2