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2015 / Fiction / $29.95
9781554471485 / Trade paper / 336 pp
Talented, privileged and ambitious, the young William Berczy is disaffected with the strictures of eighteenth-century European society. Quitting Germany to pursue a future of his own making, Berczy refashions himself as a secret envoy in war-torn Poland and a portrait painter in Italy before his charisma and skill for self-invention land him the ultimate romantic roleleading a group of German settlers into the American wilderness. After abandoning his deceitful partners and fleeing from the Gennesee Valley to Upper Canada with his settlers, Berczys facade of influence crumbles as he fails to secure either acceptance or success, his talent squandered on petitioning the powerful. Based on Berczys compelling, hyperbolic life, German Mills is a portrait of a man entangled in the vain romanticism and restless ambition that propelled the colonial dream and yet lurks just below the surface of Canadian society.