Related to This Book

The Sea Captain's Wife

A True Story of Love, Race, and War in the Nineteenth Century

Martha Hodes (Author)


A finalist for the Lincoln Prize, The Sea Captain's Wife "comes surprisingly, and movingly, alive" (Tina Jordan, Entertainment Weekly).

Award-winning historian Martha Hodes brings us into the extraordinary world of Eunice Connolly. Born white and poor in New England, Eunice moved from countryside to factory city, worked in the mills, then followed her husband to the Deep South. When the Civil War came, Eunice's brothers joined the Union army while her husband fought and died for the Confederacy. Back in New England, a widow and the mother of two, Eunice barely got by as a washerwoman, struggling with crushing depression. Four years later, she fell in love with a black sea captain, married him, and moved to his home in the West Indies. Following every lead in a collection of 500 family letters, Hodes traced Eunice's footsteps and met descendants along the way. This story of misfortune and defiance takes up grand themes of American history—opportunity and racism, war and freedom—and illuminates the lives of ordinary people in the past.

A Library Journal Best Book of the Year and a selection of the Book of the Month Club, Literary Guild, and Quality Paperback Book Club.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • September 2007
  • ISBN 978-0-393-33029-8
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 384 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“[Hodes] has done an extraordinary job of writing the story of an ordinary New England woman who was a prolific letter writer and who made unusual decisions for her time.” — Washington Post

“Few researchers have the imagination or tenacity to reconstruct a lost life as carefully as Hodes has done…an absorbing account of a life reclaimed from obscurity.” — Times Literary Supplement

“Eunice Richardson Stone Connolly’s life is a road map to learning about 19th-century America…Those who love books about history will revel in the book's detail.” — Cape Cod Times

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