Without letters or journals (young women from middling classes had not generally been taught to write), Jennifer Potter turned to the Virginia Company's merchant lists -- which were used as a kind of sales catalog for prospective husbands -- as well as censuses, court records, the minutes of Virginia's General Assemblies, letters to England from their male counterparts, and other such accounts of the everyday life of the early colonists. In The Jamestown Brides, she spins a fascinating tale of courage and survival, exploring the women's lives in England before their departure and their experiences in Jamestown. Some were married before the ships left harbor. Some were killed in an attack by the native population only months after their arrival. A few never married at all. In telling the story of these "Maids for Virginia" Potter sheds light on life for women in early modern England and in the New World.
Jennifer Potter is author of four novels and five works of nonfiction, most recently Strange Blooms, The Rose: A True History and Seven Flowers. As Royal Literary Fund (RFL) Consultant Fellow, she inspires good writing among doctoral students and younger academics, and she was recently appointed one of the first RLF Fellows at the British Library.