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Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Wolves of Andover by Kathleen Kent~★★★1/2

Author: Kathleen Kent
Title: The Wolves of Andover (later publishing retitled the book The Traitor's Wife)
Release Date: November 8, 2010
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Genre: Fiction

Book Jacket: "In the harsh wilderness of colonial Massachusetts, Martha Allen is forced to take work as a servant in her cousin's home. Unwed and, at nineteen, considered by most a spinster, Martha locks wills with everyone around her--including Thomas Carrier, the unusually tall and resolutely silent hired worker whose stubborn independence matches her own. 
There are whispers about Thomas's mysterious past and what role the taciturn 'giant' may have played in the English Civil War, which ended with the execution of King Charles I. As Martha comes to know him, she discovers a companion who respects her own outspoken nature and in whom she can confide the dark secrets of her youth. But in the rugged new world they inhabit, danger lurks both near and far. In London, King Charles II in conspiring with his lords to assemble a band of assassins to kill the man suspected of executing his father. Before long, they will arrive in New England to hunt down the man who cut off the head of a king. And at home, wolves--in many forms--are hungry for blood. As Thomas reveals to Martha his days as a soldier in England, she comes to see him as a kindred spirit, even as she realizes his secret will place her, and her loved ones, in danger. 
Both a love story and a story of courage and independence, The Wolves of Andover confirms Kathleen Kent's ability to craft powerful tales from the dramatic background of America's earliest days.

 Taryn's Review: I saw this book in a bookstore while shopping for a birthday gift. I adored Kathleen Kent's novel The Heretic's Daughter, so I immediately added the title to my reading list. I love that Kent's novels are steeped with American history and I appreciate the great lengths she goes to make them authentic. The amount of research to create such works is no doubt great.

Kent didn't disappoint in her masterful ability to take one back to seventeenth century America. The details that she provided throughout the book make it seem all the more real. What is interesting about this piece of fiction is that it is based on people who did exist; Kent reminded the readers in her Author's Note that the work is meant to be fiction, but I will say there is a thrill in knowing that the people did exist (it's the history lover in me!).

The storyline was not nearly as captivating as The Heretic's Daughter. This book was a struggle for me to read because I could not muster up interest in the topic. The beginning chapters were very slow reading for me, roughly up to page 80. It did hold my attention well until I was close to the end, when I felt myself wanting to skim the pages rather than read them.

The books was designed to be a companion book with The Heretic's Daughter, but it is still readable as a stand alone book. The two are linked with one major connection that was revealed to readers who had read The Heretic's Daughter, but that alone wasn't enough for me to rate the book higher. I think those who love historical fiction will enjoy this book and, while I did like the book, it was nowhere an enthralling as the The Heretic's Daughter.

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