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Arts & Culture
There are one million new books published each year. With so many books and so little time, where do you begin to find your next must-read? There’s the New York Times Bestseller list, the Goodreads app, the Cape Library’s Staff picks shelf and now Martin’s Must-Reads.Every Wednesday at 6:42 and 8:42 a.m., and Sunday at 8:18 a.m., Betty Martin recommends a must read based on her own personal biases for historical fiction, quirky characters and overall well-turned phrases. Her list includes WWII novels, biographies of trailblazers, novels with truly unique individuals and lots more. Reading close to 100 titles a year, Betty has plenty of titles to share.Local support for "Martin's Must Reads" comes from the Cape Girardeau Public Library and the Poplar Bluff Municipal Library.

Martin's Must Reads: 'Beheld'

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“I remember that day, in the year of our Lord sixteen hundred and thirty, that the first colonist was murdered. We were divided, as we had been from the beginning- half of the colonists were congregants striving to live as God intended. And the other half? Well, they were why we took care to mend the fences.”

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and those are some lines from the first chapter of TaraShea Nesbit’s novel Beheld. Every year when we celebrate Thanksgiving we talk as if all the passengers on those early ships to the new world were of one accord, looking for freedom to worship. Nesbit’s novel paints a very different picture: one of the puritan’s intolerance for the indentured servants who sailed with them. They hoped for a life out of servitude and a chance for their own land.

Nesbit tells her story through the voice of two women: Alice, the wife of Governor Bradford and Eleanor, wife to John, an indentured servant . John has served the required seven years and has been granted only three of the four land parcels that was his due. Even though he is a free man, he is not treated as an equal. He is determined that that fourth parcel will be his.

As the book jacket says, “Beheld is about a murder and a trial, and the motivations - personal and political-that cause people to act in unsavory ways. “ It is also a very vivid depiction of life in Plymouth Plantation in the 1600’s. I have visited the Plymouth Plantation living museum so it was easy to envision their daily activities described in the book.

If you’re looking for a realistic story of the Plymouth Plantation community then you must read Beheld by TaraShea Nesbit.

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