After falling in love with Jack Hampton during the course of The Tory Widow, Anne Merrick has fully devoted herself to the Patriot cause – but because she’s still known as a Tory, she’s infiltrated their camp with her loyal maid, Sally. Anne and Sally have the dangerous job of not only discovering information, but passing it on to the men without being spotted. Naturally, this means tensions are constantly running high, but never higher than when the Patriots and Redcoats clash in battle, and Anne and Sally fear for all of their lives as they try to win the day for their cause.
I’ve enjoyed all of Christine Blevins’s books so far, and this one isn’t an exception. It takes a slightly different approach than the first two; because it isn’t a romance at all really, since Jack and Anne are together at the start and remain in love throughout the book. It’s a direct continuation of the first book. In all, the sole thing that confused me was the title – Anne already turned, and I didn’t really see her going back to the Tory cause after falling in love with Jack. I’ll forgive the book that, though, as I quite enjoyed the story as it progressed onwards.
Like in the last book, Anne is a strong, independent woman with a taste for the world. She and Sally are very successful in what they do; the book demonstrates this effectively by opening with the two of them accidentally killing a massive snake. They’ve made themselves indispensable to the Tories, but all that means is that Anne can see both sides of the war. She firmly believes in independence, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t find herself befriending various other people in the camp and witnessing the horrors of war for herself. Since she’s not directly in battle, these don’t come about too often, but Jack’s often in the thick of things himself.
I also enjoyed the atmosphere that permeates the book. There’s a real sense of desperation, hope, and upheaval among the patriots. Blevins has set the book right at the turning point of the war, as she explains in her author’s note, which makes for an exciting read. Having those little trinkets that she sent really helped, too – as soon as a character mentioned a bayberry candle, I knew what it was going to smell like, and I could fall a little bit deeper into the world she created. This is a great book to read with a cup of tea by your side anyway, not only to help with the atmosphere – we’re still right in the midst of the American Revolution, after all, and the characters are often drinking tea when they can.
I would definitely recommend these books to historical fiction fans – The Turning of Anne Merrick has less romance than the previous two, so if that was putting you off, don’t let it stop you here. I would however recommend you read The Tory Widow first; the backstory becomes more valuable as the novel progresses. I’m looking forward to seeing what Christine Blevins writes next!
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