The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell
by William Klaber
Greenleaf Book Group. 304 pages, $24.95
HISTORICAL FICTION is always a toss-up between its two principal elements, history and fiction, and sometimes it’s hard to know how much of a good story is anchored in fact and how much is cut from whole cloth. In The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell, William Klaber comes clean in an afterword and tells you how he’s fashioned a narrative based on scant historical records. But first he captivates you with a fantastic tale.
On the morning when she cut her hair, donned her brother’s clothes, and slipped from her parents’ house before daybreak, Lucy Slater left more than a wretched life behind. She also left her daughter Helen, which tore her heart. Still, the decision to flee wasn’t difficult. Three years earlier, Lucy’s husband had abandoned his family, leaving them with nothing and forcing them to live with Lucy’s parents. Since she’d married against her parents’ will, there was only hostility in their home—a situation made worse by the fact that they knew that Lucy was most comfortable in the woods, gun in hand, wearing her little brother’s clothes. That was unseemly for a lady in upstate New York in 1855.