Review: Tidewater: A Novel of Pocahontas and the Jamestown Colony by Libbie Hawker

MY ⭐️ RATING: 4.5/5

FORMAT: Kindle Whispersync


In 1607, three ships arrive on the coast of Virginia to establish Jamestown Colony. One girl’s life-and the lives of her people-are changed forever. To Pocahontas and her people, the Tidewater is the rightful home of the Powhatan tribe. To England, it is Virginia Territory, fertile with promise, rich with silver and gold. As Jamestown struggles to take root, John Smith knows that the only hope for survival lies with the Powhatan people. He knows, too, that they would rather see the English starve than yield their homeland to invaders. In the midst of this conflict, Pocahontas, the daughter of the great chief, forges an unlikely friendship with Smith. Their bond preserves a wary peace–but control can rest only in one nation’s hands. When that peace is broken, Pocahontas must choose between power and servitude-between self and sacrifice-for the sake of her people and her land.


This story has 3 narrators, Scott Merriman, Angela Dawe and Luke Daniels, to voice Pocahontas, John Smith and the rest of the indigenous characters. I love that there are multiple narrators because it helps to get immersed within the story a lot better.

As someone who loves history and historical fiction books, this was a story that I was very interested to read when I stumbled upon it on Amazon last year. When #FebruarySheWrote came up this year, I knew I wanted to add this to that list. All I knew about Pocahontas was from the 90’s animated movie, so I was ready to dip my feet into the water and learn more about this time in our countries life.

“It seemed that even on the open sea, blood counted for more than brains.”

With that said, this is not the story of the Pocahontas in love with John Smith and singing Colors of the Wind, yes, I had to make that joke. Through research, the author was able to weave together an emotional story that dove into the lives of the indigenous people of the land, as well as the lives of the men in Jamestown. The author takes us on a journey of the life that these people lived trying to survive in a new place and trying to survive having new men in their territory, a story of a young woman’s courage to help her people survive, and a story of a man trying to make a name for himself.

The world building was done phenomenally, the tribes homes, the details in the Powhatan tribes inner workings of how things were done, and how they lived. Jamestown was not left out of this, although much of the story is told in the villages so it does somewhat take a backseat in its intricacies. She also does a tremendous job diving into the characters. We get to learn a lot about Pocahontas, her tribe, John Smith and several men of Jamestown. One of the most interesting things I learned is that Pocahontas was a nickname meaning “mischievous” and that they changed their names during major life events, which is why Amonute was known by a few different names. I may have to read more books by this author now, because of the research that she put in to make this an accurate portrayal. If you’re wanting to learn some history while also getting a great story, I would definitely suggest starting here!

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