Cannonball Read V: Constance by Patricia Clapp
I read an excerpt of Constance in upper grade school and was hooked to the drama and romance of the Separatists making their way on Plymouth Plantation. I’d read several books about the settlement, which further piqued my curiosity. And by books, I mean “historical romances.” In my defense, I spent my entire K-12 and undergrad in Christian school, so I read a lot about the Pilgrims and any romance was welcome from the diary and sermonizing bits I grew up with.
So, Constance is told from the perspective of young Constance Hopkins, a teenager who has come with her father and stepmother to live in the New World. We hear briefly about the ship’s journey, but much more extensively about the sickness during their first year of settlement, the contact with the Native Americans (First People? Indigenous individuals? What is the PC term these days?), and of course, the burying and marrying that takes place. The marrying occupies a lot of the book, because as soon as Constance realizes that she’s got boobies, she’s ready to test their magical powers on several of the young men in the colony. And that’s where the book lost its steam. Seriously, she talks about this demure thing she does with her eyelashes which she thinks is a coy look, and *I* could only think of THIS:
Also, she lets like five guys kiss her (maybe it’s only three, but that still seemed like a lot for such a strict religious community), and I was all like, “Girl. Stop leading boys on just because you’re a woman, and you can.” I’m such a wet blanket around teen romance. There are several guys vying for her because she’s pretty and single and she’s spunky. One of the guys is a ginger, and I was initially rooting for him, and then his carousing turned into boring responsibility, so then I got bored with him. So of course when we meet the guy she actually ends up with, I knew of course. Because she doesn’t like him, and he’s kind of a dick to her at first, and they argue and disagree. OF COURSE.
Anyway. Constance was one of the girliest YA books I’ve read, and while I’m not sorry I read it, I realize why I am choosy about which ones I do read. One can only take so much angsty historical romance, you know. Also: my junior high reader only included the sickness parts and left out all the scandalous stuff. Of course.
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