Ambition, Arrogance & Pride
Families & Rivals in 18th Century Salem
"If you love Jane Austin, you will love Sandra Wagner-Wright." — Reader's Favorite
”Sandra Wagner-Wright is an excellent storyteller with a natural flair for historical accuracy and powerful character development.” —Seattle Book Review
Three Weddings – Two Rival Families
In 1735 Richard Derby, a ship’s master in colonial Salem, Massachusetts, married Mary Hodges, a merchant’s daughter. The alliance was good business, and Mary Hodges was a willing bride. Richard prospered, retired from the sea, and founded his own merchant house. With one exception, Richard’s sons went to sea. Hasket Derby stayed ashore, learning to manage the trading network his father built.
George Crowninshield was the youngest of four brothers. Three sailed for Salem merchants. Richard Derby enticed George to sail for him by matching George with his daughter Mary. George knew a good opportunity when he saw it. Mary wanted more than a house and children, but marriage was her only option. “Marry me,” George said. “Be my partner.”
Eliza Crowninshield set her cap for a husband who would bring her wealth and status. She craved a brick house superior to any other dwelling in Salem. She wanted to dress at the height of fashion and entertain lavishly. Hasket Derby needed a wife as ambitious as he was. He expected to lead the Salem business community and required a wife to complement his achievements. Together, they became the “First Family” of Salem.
Against the backdrop of tensions between Great Britain and her American colonies, George and Hasket built their trading empires. After Americans gained independence in 1783, their sons sailed everywhere trade took place from the West Indies to the Baltic Sea, from Isle de France to Batavia, India, and China.
Inspired by true events, this is the story of two rival families who made their fortunes in the new United States of America.