By Francis Spufford
On November 1, 1746, the ship Henrietta docks in a small town known as New York. A mysterious man calling himself Mr. Smith disembarks and makes his way to the Golden Hill counting house and offices of Lovell and Company. There he presents a money order for a thousand pounds. Officers of the counting-house shiver at the request for this vast sum of money and stall Mr. Smith with the understanding it will take 60 days to complete the transaction. It will be an incredible period. Mr. Lovell introduces Mr. Smith to his maid and daughters Flora and Tabitha, and at a later date, they will enjoy an evening of dining at the Lovell home. Meanwhile, Mr. Smith finds himself the victim of a robbery as he attempts to discover this newly established and growing city. However, under control by the British, the populous elitist display allegiance to their Crown, but they are an unruly lot, and this noncivilized America is a shock to Mr. Smith. He misses London but also enjoys the anonymity of his new found home.
Halfway through this book and I was still gripped in suspense as the adventure unfolded. This novel was named Wall Street Journal Top Ten Fiction book of 2017 and the writing, though a tad bit long winded at times, is fantastic. The stories protagonist continually controls his emotions, which create a mystery about himself, and has the town’s people conflicted with whether to trust him or murder him. Just who is Mr. Smith? I hope you enjoy this novel.