Westcott’s Tale: Revisiting 19th Century Central New York – Edward Noyes Westcott’s literary deadline was death itself. This Syracuse author struggled through an agonizing terminal illness and frantically completed his novel, David Harum. His book, with direct parallels to people and places in central New York, became a bestseller with over one million copies sold. Westcott’s Tale: Revisiting 19th Century Central New York presents compelling evidence that Westcott’s steadfast motivation to finish his book was to reconcile the shame that had plagued him—a disgrace brought to his family years earlier. Westcott’s Tale: Revisiting 19th Century Central New York traces Westcott’s life, the people and places that influenced him, and the legacy of his book.
“What O’Shea has done is to provide a detailed Cliff Notes, so to speak, to assist the 21st century reader to get the most out of the novel, which can be arduous reading, given the language of the 19th century coupled with a folksy Central New York dialect. O’Shea has rewritten Westcott’s tale in contemporary language and cleverly interwoven factual material about the author, his motive for writing, and what the folks of Central New York were really like. What emerges for the reader is a better grasp of the distinction between the real David Hannum of Homer and the fictional David Harum of Homeville — a distinction that has become blurred through the 20th century, even for the residents of Homer, NY. They and anyone who appreciates 19th century literature and history will enjoy this peek into the real world that gave rise to this tale of life in the age of horse-trading and cracker barrel philosophers.” – Martin A. Sweeney