Beheld - book cover
  • Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing; Reprint edition
  • Published : 19 Oct 2021
  • Pages : 288
  • ISBN-10 : 1635576555
  • ISBN-13 : 9781635576559
  • Language : English


A Publishers Weekly Best Fiction Book of 2020
Most Anticipated Books of 2020 - Vogue, Medium, LitHub
From the bestselling author of The Wives of Los Alamos comes the riveting story of a stranger's arrival in the fledgling colony of Plymouth, Massachusetts-and a crime that shakes the divided community to its core.
Ten years after the Mayflower pilgrims arrived on rocky, unfamiliar soil, Plymouth is not the land its residents had imagined. Seemingly established on a dream of religious freedom, in reality the town is led by fervent puritans who prohibit the residents from living, trading, and worshipping as they choose. By the time an unfamiliar ship, bearing new colonists, appears on the horizon one summer morning, Anglican outsiders have had enough.
With gripping, immersive details and exquisite prose, TaraShea Nesbit reframes the story of the pilgrims in the previously unheard voices of two women of very different status and means. She evokes a vivid, ominous Plymouth, populated by famous and unknown characters alike, each with conflicting desires and questionable behavior.
Suspenseful and beautifully wrought, Beheld is about a murder and a trial, and the motivations-personal and political-that cause people to act in unsavory ways. It is also an intimate portrait of love, motherhood, and friendship that asks: Whose stories get told over time, who gets believed-and subsequently, who gets punished?

Editorial Reviews

"In this plain-spoken and lovingly detailed historical novel, the story of the Mayflower Pilgrims and Plymouth Colony is refracted through the prism of female characters. Despite the novel's quietness of telling, its currency is the human capacity for cruelty and subjugation, of pretty much everyone by pretty much everyone." ―New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

"I have been waiting for this book. But I'm not alone. There has been a sort of impatience and delicious anticipation felt by those waiting to be inside TaraShea Nesbit's much talked about Beheld." ―Sarah Jessica Parker, via Instagram

"A compelling exploration of friendship, character and the personal and political motivations that determine whose stories get told and whose voices are silenced." ―Los Angeles Times, Books to Read to Study the Divided Nation

"A compelling new novel by TaraShea Nesbit, author of The Wives of Los Alamos, explores not only the dangers the first colonists confronted on arrival, but those they brought with them … Beheld disrupts expectation to render the pulsing messy lives of those too often calcified in myth." ―USA Today

"There is a contradiction underpinning the whole project of English imperialism, and Nesbit flags it perfectly . . . The novel is most successful where it allows itself to stray from historical fact and plot--to invent and to play with language, to give itself imaginative time and space. Nesbit is brilliant in those moments, and captures a paradox of historical writing--that it's in the invention and improvisation that the past feels most pressing and most real." ―New York Times

"In a gripping retelling of the Plymouth colony's first murder, we finally hear the voices of women--and they speak an unvarnished truth that turns history on its pointy-hatted head. Truly a riveting read." ―Helen Simonson, author of MAJOR PETTIGREW'S LAST STAND and THE SUMMER BEFORE THE WAR

"TaraShea Nesbit's puritans are passionate and vengeful and entrancing. Part mystery, part love story, beautifully told and meticulously researched, Beheld reanimates and complicates the mythologies of America's earliest settlers. I was sad when it ended." ―Anton DiSclafani, author of THE YONAHLOSSEE RIDING CAMP FOR GIRLS

"Beheld breathes fresh life into a world grown still and murky beneath the scrim of legend--rife with intrigue, fractured by difference, marked by violence, and full of haunting images. With gorgeous, period-inflected prose, Nesbit takes us back to the earliest days of New England to look through the eyes and over the shoulders of historical characters both remembered and not. I read it at a gallop. What a marvel this novel is." ―Laird Hunt, author of IN THE HOUS...

Readers Top Reviews

It was okay. I thought the mens’ chapters were kind of unnecessary. I didn’t like all the betwixes thrown in. Seems there were more of those than any other old English words. I did finish it though, so it somewhat held my interest. Not as much insight as to what it might have been like living in Plymouth way back then as I would have liked.
Jane Manning
I watched the PBS show "Pilgrims" on Netflix (or maybe Prime) and this was the perfect follow up. While a work of fiction, it is well researched enough to make it the perfect counterpart. "Of Plymouth Plantation " by William Bradford, is almost absent any mention of females, let alone the female points of few. I found this book to be an amazing, if painful look at the world these brave, strong women inhabited.
A fascinating book about the first murder in Plymouth, and everything you never knew about the founding of America. Turns out people are always people--bigoted, powerful, in love, in hate. This book is beautiful and powerful and also very funny at times. Meticulously researched. I started reading it, figuring I'd do a chapter...stayed up until 2am to finish it. Excellent read.
Kathie PalazzoloCari
I loved so much about this book and the author writes beautifully. HOWEVER, there were several instances of oral sex described that seemed 1. Unnecessary. These interludes added nothing to the story 2. inauthentic for the times and the people. Hard to imagine a man treating his holy puritan wife like this. A street whore and sailor maybe but unlikely with msrried puritans in my opinion. and 3. Considering the hygiene of the day, hard to imagine it was appealing. Such a gifted writer with such a great story to tell need not have sunk to that level. It was beneath her and beneath her talents, in my opinion. The book would have been far better without it. I found these segments to be a distasteful distraction. They added nothing to the book and took so much away from it.

Featured Video