The Turning of Anne Merrick by Christine Blevins
Author: Christine Blevins
Genre: Fiction (Historical / American Revolution / 18th century / Historical Figures Fictionalized / Women in War / Love Triangle)
Publisher/Publication Date: Berkley Trade Publishing (2/7/2012)
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Did I finish?: Yes -- inhaled this one in days!
One-sentence summary: Widow Anne Merrick disguises herself as a loyal Tory among English troops during their campaign to Albany while her true love fights with the American rebels.
Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction
Do I like the cover?: Yes! First, the woman has her whole head, hurrah! And I like -- nay, love -- her dress. And she's sort of unusual looking for a histfic cover model, I think, which endears the cover to me even more!
I'm reminded of...: Diana Gabaldon, Sandra Gulland, Georgette Heyer
First line: In the distance, the resound of ax iron biting into wood echoed up from the valley floor, adding ringing harmony to the morning song of a nearby thrush.
Did... I find myself alternating who I wanted Anne to be Truly In Love With throughout my read?: YES. Both love options were wicked bohunky, and I do love a good triangle when it's fun and lacking wangst.
Did... I adore the Historical Notes at the end, detailing who was historical and what really happened with them?: YES. History, plus gossip equals win.
Am... I desperately hoping the end of this book is hinting at another book?: YES. Moar please!
Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Buy -- get this and the earlier book, The Tory Widow, for some delightful reads!
Why did I get this book?: I love fic set during the American Revolution -- so I needed this one!
Review: I loved this book. Just flat out loved it. One of my favorite historical eras -- the American revolution -- combined with a romantic triangle of sorts, great writing, and a fantabulous heroine that I desperately want as a best friend.
Set in 1777, this book is technically the sequel to Blevins' The Tory Widow which I sadly didn't get around to reading before starting this one. However, I didn't feel lost at any time -- Blevins immediately pulled me in to Anne's story and she offered enough details from the previous book that I understood what had occurred and why people were behaving as they were. (Word of warning, events in The Tory Widow will be spoiled for you if you read this one, so if you're a stickler for surprises, don't start here.) Since I loved this one, I'm still going back to read The Tory Widow because I don't care if I kind of know the plot -- I need me some more Anne Merrick!
Clearly, our heroine Anne was the hook for me -- she's the kind of character I would follow for ten more books (I understand now why people get so rabid for Gabaldon's series!). Blevins' storytelling was thick with historical detail, offered in a lovely style that didn't feel in your face. Her history was human, and I loved seeing such a feminine side of war (so to speak). Anne spies for the American rebels by maintaining her facade as a Tory widow while traveling with British troops. Despite her patriotic loyalties, she's still moved and horrified by war and the results -- especially the deaths -- her actions cause.
Blevins doesn't sugar coat the historical horrors of war (even though she adjusts one military punishment for fear readers would think she was exaggerating!), but she's not blunt, over-the-top, or grotesque. If you're not into romance, this might not be the book for you -- there's no heaving bosoms, but there is a romantic triangle between Anne, the man she loves, and the British officer who is cute and pays attention to her and is all dreamy and flirty and... (why yes, now and then I did indulge in some alternate universe day dreaming where they could be happily ever after!).
So, long story short, get this book. Well, get this and The Tory Widow, and read them both. You can thank me later!
*** *** ***
I'm thrilled offer a copy of The Turning of Anne Merrick to one lucky reader! To enter, fill out this brief form. Open to US/international readers, ends 3/23.
I'm also giving away 18th Century Stationery – just the sort of sundry Anne Merrick peddled to those bloodyback scoundrels in Burgoyne’s camp. Supplied with a quill pen and wrapped for convenient stowing amidst your gear, these sheets and envelopes are perfect for scrieving all manner of secret messages – invisible ink not included. Open to US/international readers, ends 3/23. Fill out this form to enter!