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English Historical Novel: The Fall Line

Title: The Fall Line

Author: Errol Burland

Pages: 512

Year: 2006

Publisher: Dorrance Publishing (

Note: I received a complimentary copy of “The Fall Line” from Dorrance Publishing Company as a member of the Dorrance Publishing Review Team.

What do you find intriguing about a historical novel? Is it the characters, time period, setting, or perhaps the author? This is the first book I have read by this author. If you have never heard of this author’s name before, know this, this is her first novel and what a novel it is too! Naturally, the title reminds one of the colonial period when America was still forming, finding its way to what it would eventually become. However, as I was not a very good student at first of history, there was much to learn about this time frame.

From the start, it is evident that the author knows how to craft an excellent story. I was amazed when I started to read and see such quality come forth from a novice. The characters, setting, plots, and subplots are well written. In fact, the whole novel is par excellance! Though such a large novel might make you wonder if you can stay with it to the end, let me reassure you, there will be no problem with that!

In this book, there are many interesting details of England’s customs and history, rebellion, family, treason, friendship, marriage, and more that are so well-woven into the book it is hard to put down. Within the pages, we see the element of arranged marriages between young people, dowries given, land grants, kings, even a mention of Cromwell. In the colonies, we find the King’s appointed governor, appointments to offices, taxes, slavery, common people with no say, and more. This is a time so distinct in comparison to today, yet the characters remind us of those we know or may know today. Back then religious as well as political affiliations were well known and could make or break one’s path to adulthood or experiences of adventure.

When this novel begins, there is a man who has high hopes and even higher aspirations, but is that all? His first wife has died years ago, leaving him with three children who are now grown. He has remarried, having more children, but out of five only one has survived, a girl named Lyn. Lyn is the name she loves to be called by the most and Nat is a childhood friend. Together they mutually pledge a lifelong friendship, which turns into love as they grow older. Nat has a friend named John Grey who is a lawyer and a devoted friend of Nat’s though he doesn’t share Nat’s ways of living.

Lyn’s mother dies during childbirth, but before doing so gives her daughter advice which Lyn carries through her adult life. Lyn’s father is a man with dark secrets that the servants know about, but they never speak a word of them. As the story develops, you begin to see her father’s true character or lack of it. Though Nat’s character isn’t a shining one, his father sends him to Virginia to hopefully see his son grow into a well-rounded and wonderful man. There is rebellion in the wind in the Virginia colony. Why? It isn’t only the King’s appointed man that brings trouble to the colonies, there are also Indians about. Are any in league with the English?

One cannot rate this novel anything but 5-star, and exceptional to say the least! I highly recommend it because the author doesn’t expound on “sex”; she glosses over marital relationships. Second, there are only a couple of brief curse words, which is amazing considering the length of the book. Finally, above all, it is well written, captivating to the reader, and fascinating to say the least! Grab a copy, settle down and get lost in the pages of this wonderful historical novel.

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