Graham Griffith, a Wellesleyite since 1979, has just had his first book published — what he calls an historical romance mystery novel with a serious message about the “idealized mythology of America’s beginnings.”
What’s more, Niantic Jewel features a super-intuitive Wellesley heroine and droll insights about Wellesley College, where the former Boston Globe editor Graham has been auditing courses on Native American and Colonial history. There are descriptions of the Wellesley campus and mentions of Wellesley Booksmith, Roche Bros., DePrisco’s and White Mountain Creamery.
The book (which I haven’t read) also features a Native American skull unearthed after more than 300 years, dreams involving members of the Narragansett tribe and more. “As romance blooms, we learn the untaught history of America’s beginnings and meet the Indian leaders whose quest for peaceful coexistence tragically failed,” according to the book blurb.
Graham, 66, refers to the book, released by a small independent publishing company called Seaburn Publishing Group, as a summer beach novel even though it’s making its debut as winter approaches due to the publisher’s schedule. The book took 18 months to write, though Graham has been studying Native American history for 8 years.
I asked Graham if he knew of any Native American blood in his family’s line: “I didn’t know it until after Niantic Jewel came out, but my wife’s paternal grandmother had a Mahican forebear.”
As for serious themes underlying this book, Graham says: “Genocide isn’t a pretty word, so it’s skipped over when teaching American history. Nevertheless, that’s what Native Americans endured, according to the UN definition, from 1637 until the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. It’s the reason Wampanoags observe a National Day of Mourning at Plymouth on Thanksgiving. As a journalist, I want to help set the record straight.”
Niantic Jewel is available via Wellesley Booksmith, Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com as well as at the publisher’s website.