Wednesday, August 14, 2013
The Wolves of Andover by Kathleen Kent
I'll not ask you to be mine ...I will never seek to blunt the fury in you, never, and will honour your will as my own. What say you? Can you be a soldier's wife? New England, 1673. Martha Allen, a young woman reviled by her family because of her refusal to marry, is packed off to be a servant in her cousin's home. She takes charge of the neglected household and annoys everyone around her -- including a mysterious Welshman who works for the family, a man whose forceful nature matches her own. As they both gradually let their guard down, a fragile, uneasy friendship grows between the pair. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, a band of assassins, driven by the will of Charles II, charter a ship to the New World. They have a single aim: to capture Thomas Morgan, the executioner of Charles I, and bring him back to London where he will face an excruciating death. The Royalists want to see his head on a spike outside the Tower of London. As Martha begins to fall for the tall Welshman, he reveals a little of his past. It soon becomes clear that his life is in grave danger. As the threat of the assassins grows closer, can Martha find it in herself to be a traitor's wife?
This is a bit confusing as they changed the name of the book when it went to paperback. Originally published as The Wolves of Andover it was released as The Traitor's Wife in paperback. This book is a prequel to Ms. Kent's first book The Heretic's Daughter.
Absolutely wonderful historical fiction! What makes this so great is the author is related to Thomas Carrier and Martha Allen Carrier. Along with fantastic research she did, she has the family stories handed down through the generations to weave into the story. The characters really did come alive for me. There was a scene near the beginning when they are trying to trap and kill a couple of bloodthirsty renegade wolves that was riveting! Martha thought she heard screaming and afraid that her young nephew, Will, had snuck out to 'help' Thomas and John and that the wolves were at him. She flys to the barn and the pen area where the wolves are and is nose to nose with the ferocious wolf. So close the wolf's saliva is spattered on her face. You felt the need to wipe it from your face. That is the introduction to Martha's furious personality.
In her time women like her were looked down on and certainly not marriage material. But I liked Martha. They lived in a difficult, dangerous time and I would think Martha would be an asset actually. She is there because her cousin is pregnant with her third child and needs help. The cousin is weak and retreats to her bed at the least trouble. The birthing is described vividly!
The chapters alternated with the story of Martha and Thomas there in Massachusetts and the King in England and his assassins preparing to come to the new world to look for Charles I executioner. I enjoyed the descriptions of the assassins ship voyage from England to Boston and the encounters with the Indians when they arrive. This is a must read for historical history lovers!
I can't wait to read The Heretic's Daughter now! There is a new book coming out in October of this year by Kathleen Kent too, The Outcasts. Set in Texas in 1870. Prostitutes and Texas lawmen. I'm reading an advance copy of that now and believe me your going to want to read it too!
Kathleen Kent has a great blog where she writes about her research and history. Excellent reading! Check out her series of posts on The Day in Life of A Puritan Woman! She has a series of posts on her research for the new book too that are interesting.