What a lucky find, and one I would have missed but for the fact that the sales clerk pulled the wrong book, had to go back for the right one and I was perusing the closest shelf (travel) and found this little gem in the wrong place…
Seattle Green is a multi-generational tale of three women, beginning in 1866 and ends in 1962. When she turns fifteen, Maddy finds herself receiving some very unwelcome attention from her step-father, and with her mother’s health failing she doesn’t have many options and signs on as a Mercer Bride, a group of women recruited by Asa Mercer to sail to Seattle as brides.
Sound rather similar to a certain television show in the 70’s?
Bobby Sherman *fans self*
What he wanted was for her to look after the boy, and keep the house, and cook his meals, and warm his bed at night, and for all that he supposed she looked fit enough.”
Maddy weds widower Abel Blanchard, but realizes too late she’s married the wrong brother. Duty calls and she makes the best of it and she and Abel build a dynasty of land and wealth for future generations, despite the increasingly heated disputes with his younger brother over his prime piece of land called Caleb’s Bluff (West Seattle).
Maddy’s youngest daughter Catherine is the next to stand guard over Caleb’s Bluff, which does cause a wee bit of tension with her brothers who are bent on development and greater wealth. The Blanchard fortunes have their ups and downs along with the city as the impacts of the labor strikes, the threat of communism, World War I and the Great Depression forces change to the financial climate. Catherine’s daughter Natalie is the focus of the latter third, as the Second World War rages and the city’s financial landscape is changed once again – aviation. Natalie fights for her dream to be a photojournalist, but can she come home again and take up the battle to keep Caleb’s Bluff unspoiled?
I know I’m not doing the story justice with this recap, but I really don’t want to ruin it by saying more. Probably my only real complaint is that it wasn’t longer, at only 300 pages there wasn’t room for as much character development as I like to see in a book. As much as this is a story about three strong-willed women, it is also about the land and the city and how it changes and grows – I especially loved the last part where we saw through Natalie’s eyes how much it had changed after a long absence. As a lifelong resident of Seattle, I absolutely adored the historical references and characters and working them with the fictional Blanchard family, names that most residents now know as major streets through the downtown core. Nice to see Mr. Boeing and the airplane industry worked into this as well, about the only one missing was John W. Nordstrom and his shoe store at 4th and Pike, and of course the story ends much too soon to bring Mr. Gates into the storyline. Used copies are very reasonable at the moment, and I heartily recommend this for those interested in Seattle history.