Blindspot
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Blindspot

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  662 ratings  ·  221 reviews

“Tis a small canvas, this Boston,” muses Stewart Jameson, a Scottish portrait painter who, having fled his debtors in Edinburgh, has washed up on America’s far shores. Eager to begin anew in this new world, he advertises for an apprentice, but the lad who comes knocking is no lad at all. Fanny Easton is a lady in disguise, a young, fallen woman from Boston’s most prominent

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Hardcover, 500 pages
Published December 9th 2008 by Spiegel & Grau (first published January 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

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Joanne
I just loved the first third or so of this book. It's a historical novel set in Boston during the 1770s and is told as an epistolary novel, alternating between the male protagonist, a painter, and the female protagonist, the painter's apprentice, who is a fallen-from-society woman pretending to be a boy so that she can work. It's full of witty banter and the authors are American history professors, so it also felt as if the settings and descriptions and dialogue were real. Just wonderful.

And the...more
Sharon
Those who read my reviews regularly know that I deplore poorly researched historical fiction. Unfortunately, there is such a plethora of poorly researched historical fiction available today that I begin each book with a sense of trepidation.

Fortunately, "Blindspot" is not only well-researched but also entertaining. This semi-epistolary novel finds portrait painter Stewart Jameson newly arrived in Boston on the eve of the American Revolution. His ad for an apprentice is answered by one "Francis W...more
K. Jarboe
I think the authors were trying to make a nod at novel conventions, so I can overlook the trite mystery and romance aspects of it. As a few other people mentioned, the sex scenes seem out of place and a bit overboard, but what really got me was the way Fanny's reveal as a woman became such a big deal. She immediately starts wearing women's clothes around the house, and acting the lady somehow even though she has more than proven that such roles are based on nothing, and her romance with Jameson...more
Lori
Apr 29, 2009 Lori rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lori by: NYT Book Review
Shelves: 2009april
My hold shelf at the library is always filled with surprises. When the stack on my bedside shelf starts to get short, I do a crosscheck: If it's on my to-read list and available at the library, I put it on hold.

Sometimes, the book has been on my to-read list for a year or more. Sometimes a friend just mentioned it. Nine times out of ten, I have absolutely no idea why I flagged it as a book of interest.

So, Blindspot stunned me a little. It's historical fiction, set in Boston before the Revolutio...more
Marie
If I could give this 3.5 stars I would. I found the first 1/2 - 3/4 funny, engaging, and interesting. It totally immerses you into Boston right before the Revolution- language, clothing, art, politics, social classes, everything. The characters were witty and likeable and the romance suspenseful. Then there was a period where I felt irritated by the extreme sexuality. Then when the characters got a grip on their lustful appetites and got back to the mystery part of the story, it somehow felt ove...more
Elizabeth
I enjoyed reading about this period in American history and was intrigued enough to follow the authors' link to learn more about real-life art and biographies from which the novel is drawn. At the risk of sounding prudish (for who wants to be accused of that! lol) I did not think the book needed the steamy scenes to sell the story.
Kate
I don't know whether it was because the characters were so likable, because I live in Boston, or because I saw the authors speak and they looked like they had such fun writing it that I enjoyed this book so much. It got a tad melodramatic at times, but for the most part I really got into this story and loved it.
Jake Rideout
Blindspot is a masterpiece of teamwork. Kamensky and Lepore, both history professors, have brought alive pre-Revolutionary Boston in the most charming way imaginable: the tale of Stewart Jameson, exiled Scottish portraitist, and Fannie Easton, fallen-socialite-turned-apprentice. As Fannie Easton—or, as she comes to be known, Francis Weston—struggles to make sense of her new situation, Jameson finds himself caught up in the politics of colonial Boston. What begins as a comedy of errors, with Jame...more
Jeri
I do not like history novels. That being said, I completely loved this book. I found it at an independent bookstore, and had never heard anything about it. But the cover looked interesting, so I bought it. Where it sat on my to-read pile. For months. Once I finally, grudgingly, picked it up, I could barely sleep until I finished it! Charming characters who you actually care about tell the story. He is a Scottish painter who flees his debts on the other side of the pond and sets up his easel in B...more
Barb
I had high hopes for this, the jacket makes it sound like the perfect book for me. Sadly I couldn't finish it. The things that got in the way of the enjoyment for me were the stumbling pace of the book, the narration alternates from the male protagonist's first person perspective and the female protagonist's letters to a friend, also thrown into the text are articles from the Boston papers that in my opinion don't do a thing for the story.

The first hundred pages are interesting enough but on the...more
Alastair
I may well have been blind to this book's failings because it is historical fiction written by, & I daresay for, historians. I mean that it was exhilarating for me to read an imaginative reconstruction of 18th century Boston, reconstructed with good evidence but also with two other important ingredients: the power to flesh out historical evidence with 'real life', & also the fantasy to 'redeem' history by writing a narrative which ends with a kind of justice. I would be tempted to assign...more
Haley
I loved this book.

I have to say, it's not my usual genre. I honestly picked it up because it was a free advance copy, and now I feel like I want to go buy another copy just to encourage these authors to write more. Yes, the way it turned into a romance novel toward the end was a bit much and unnecessary, and I'm still not certain how I feel about the ending, but it was so very worth reading that I don't mind.

It was one of the only books I've ever read where, when finished, I had to seriously st...more
Tiffany X
This book started out very promisingly. I loved the first 1/3 of the book. Trudged through the second third. And then came upon the ridiculous sex scenes and dropped the book. Purely idiotically written sex scenes. Not worth finishing the book.
Kate The Great
After having read the reviews, I am sure my thoughts will not be popular, but I found the book quite hard to read.

Perhaps, I am simply not a fan of novels written in period dialect, but the only thing that compelled me to finish reading the book was the plot.

What else is there you ask? For me, it is a matter of good writing. Not to say that these two women are not good writers, I simply found it long and drudging to plow through. Where the over all plot line not as compelling as it was, I woul...more
Stacey
A fun escape book that kept me turning pages during the first part, which was full of lust and Shakespearian hidden identities with a painting subplot, set in pre-revolutionary New England. The heroine was too modern to be fully believeably from the 17th century, but the light tone of the prose made me not care. Once the hero and heroine got together, the story tried to become a serious examination of slavery and lost its charm.

I was bored and/or annoyed every time the slave Alexander opened his...more
Drew Jameson
A full-on, saucy corset-fest with cross-dressing, Revolutionary history and more double entendres than you can shake a cod (OK, that was a triple entendre, just ask me) at.
I definitely enjoyed the frippery, puffery, bosh and flimshaw, the bawdy wit, and the constant use of the (probably-fictional) period adjective "shitten". Although, after several chapters, the perpetual obvious "Tis what she said" puns grew awfully tiresome. I definitely did NOT enjoy the too-modern/self-aware/PC opinions of t...more
SaraJean
I found this book (unsurprisingly) on the freebie table at my local library. They had it as an advanced reading copy, so when they were done with it, they had to put it on the freebie table rather than the $0.25 table. Free books FTW!

Overall I enjoyed this book. I did have a few problems with it: Jameson's chapters (especially in the beginning) were uneven, the book often falls into an awareness of its own existence and can be quite meta, and the main tension that carries the action through 3/4...more
Tim
Henry Fielding has been channeled in this murder mystery and titillating transvestite tale that is rife with political pull and painting practices, and stacked with sniggering slang. The authors have used Fielding’s writing technique he introduced in Tom Jones, wherein the narrator addresses the audience directly while presenting, explaining, or mollifying the sensitive reader to certain material. They have expanded his technique employed in Joseph Andrews (or Shamela for that matter) in which p...more
Sue
Summer reading, perhaps? The story is a light look at a tease between two people, one a man, the other a woman disguised as a man (you can guess the mischief that results), both cloaked in a historical guise; an Agatha Christie-type light and somewhat entertaining murder mystery (a little too racy for my taste); a friendship between a white man and a highly educated black man in a time when such relationships were highly unlikely and were frowned upon by social custom; and a few other gems to ke...more
Pamela Pickering
This book was hitting a strong 4-5 star rating with me at first. I loved the writing, the method in which the story was told, and the historical pictures/accuracy. The authors paint an exquisite picture of American colonial life and culture not only with descriptions but with the style of dialogue. Although some readers may be put off by the method of the story telling I found it quite entertaining and effective. One part of the story is told through the male protagonists writing to the "reader"...more
Neb
An enjoyable read, if a bit perplexing at times solely due to my feeling that I was being shifted back and forth from one genre to another all the way through. I know I shouldn't judge a book by its cover, or by the synopsis on the back of it, but I think that a synopsis should at least give a flavor of the contents. Reading the back cover of this (audio) book, one would think this was going to be a nice historical murder mystery. It is that, if you're willing to wait until about halfway through...more
Billy
Solid historical fiction...,

The tale told here is complicated: a woman of stature but fallen from grace takes a painting apprentice position but must dress as a boy to do so; the painter is a runaway debtor, newly arrived in New England; the painter's friend is an educated black man who was sold in to slavery and escapes to his friend; a murder takes place, a slave is blamed and a mystery ensues; the beginnings of the American Revolution are the backdrop for this all.

The story is vividly told, t...more
Crystal
The eve of the American Revolution serves as the backdrop to this novel, set in Boston and focusing on the story of a Scot transported over to the colonies, Stewart Jameson. We begin with our well meaning hero barely escaping from Scotland with his life and his dog, owing two thousand pounds to some creditors for a debt we soon learn was incurred to pay for the life of his dear friend, Ignatius Alexander.

As Jameson starts to sort his way out in Boston, he finds his painters apprentice in Francis...more
Laura
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leya
The book is written in journal entries and letter format. Usually I am not a fan of this format but I enjoyed in this book. It added to the story. I found myself while reading it wondering what would happen in the next entry or letter.

The setting of the story was wonderful, the authors description of Boston during the time was interesting and very vivid in my opinion. It may have helped that I recently watched the John Adams mini-series, so Boston and the area (of Revolutionary time) was still...more
Stacey
This novel follows two narrators, Fanny Easton and Stewart Jameson, who both find themselves in trouble in mid-18th century Boston. Stewart is running from debtors back in Scotland and England, and Fanny has been living in the Manufactory for three years since she left her father's house for the streets. At the opening of the story, she decides to masquerade as a young boy.

Both are talented artists, which is how their stories end up intertwined: Jameson advertises for an apprentice in the local...more
Jennifer
Jan 09, 2009 Jennifer rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lani, Rachel, Cranky
Recommended to Jennifer by: Women & Children First Bookstore
DELIGHTFUL.

Okay, if you've read a lot of Jane Austen and other 18th/19th century stuff, and you've laughed your way through some romance novels, and you like slave narratives, and you like detective fiction, and you have some fascination with pre-Revolutionary War Boston and enjoy a good historical novel, and you like things to be structured in diary entries and letters, then this book might be for you. Oh, did I mention the whole genderbendy part, with a woman disguised as a boy falling in lurv...more
Scot
I was charmed by this homage to eighteenth century fiction not in small part because it is written by two history professors from Boston (the main setting of the story) who know the period and its literature well, so their appreciation of how Enlightenment politics, fine art practices, entertainments, and conflicting attitudes on slavery played out in the 1760s is both instructive and entertaining. The hero and heroine, both talented portrait artists, are also witty and capable of the sort of ba...more
Marie
I was so excited for this book- a historical fiction written by two well-known and very well respected historians. And I enjoyed the book immensely. It's a really good historical fiction novel without being too sappy, but I'm not sure it lived up to all the hype surrounding it. I expected more- I wanted a bibliography (other historical novels sometimes supply this), I wanted a closer rendition to what actually happened, or at least an opaque connection to historical actors. Instead, this is a no...more
Rowena
Stewart Jameson, a talented face-painter flees debtors in Scotland to arrive on the shores of a pre-revolutionary Boston. In search of a painting assistant, he meets Francis Weston, a scrawny scrap of a boy who happens to have prodigious painting skills. Of course, Francis Weston is actually Fanny Easton, a "fallen" woman (a woman who had a child out of wedlock and was subsequently ejected from her home) who is disguising herself as a boy just to get by. A very strange love story ensues, coupled...more
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