This novel was originally published under the title The Wolves of Andover.
In the harsh wilderness of colonial Massachusetts, Martha Allen works as a servant in her cousin's household, taking charge and locking wills with everyone. Thomas Carrier labors for the family and is known both for his immense strength and size and his mysterious past. The two begin a courtship that suits their independent natures, with Thomas slowly revealing the story of the role he played in the English Civil War. But in the rugged new world they inhabit, danger is ever present, whether it be from the assassins sent from London to kill the executioner of Charles I or the wolves-in many forms-who hunt for blood. At once a love story and a tale of courage, The Traitor's Wife confirms Kathleen Kent's ability to craft powerful stories from the dramatic background of America's earliest days.
©2010 Kathleen Kent (P)2010 Hachette
The Wolves of Andover serves as a prequel to Kent's The Heretic's Daughter, but it falls a bit short. The story of Charles II's relentless pursuit of the men directly responsible for his father's beheading, even to the extent of sending assassins to find them in the American colonies, is certainly an intriguing one, and Kent does a fine job of describing the hardscrabble life of the New England settlers. What put me off was, I think, the rather stereotypical characters. Martha, the protagonist, is what one would call a "spirited" girl--in other words, the stereotypical ancestral feminist. Her cousin Patience, on the other hand, is a the stereotypical jealous harpy intent on keeping Martha--her cousin--in her inferior place. The lead baddie, Bloodlow, is crueller than cruel and meaner than mean. The Welshman, Thomas, is the strong, silent type, taller than tall, stronger than strong, silenter than silent (at least until he falls in love--then it seems he can't stop blabbing his secrets). Well, you get the picture. These are all folks I've seen before in numerous historical novels, and that familiarity makes the plot, overall, too predictable. Who wants to read a novel with so few surprises? Near the end, Kent sticks in the gratuitous but expected scene of first lovemaking (ho hum!). I could have done without the graphic description of a ruptured hymen, about which which she attempted to wax poetically.
Maybe it's just me . . . maybe I needed an even longer break from historical fiction. The Wolves of Andover is certainly not a bad book, but what disappointed me most was that it had the potential to be so much better.
A decent piece of historical fiction, but terribly marred by a poor performance by the narrator. She seemed to be be constantly in a rush, reading the entire book as if it were one paragraph. It was breathless! It sometimes took me a sentence or two to realize we had switched locales or characters. She also had a very set cadence and read every sentence as if it had equal weight and meaning. I suggest the print version.
I didn't listen to the end of the story. It was long and wordy.
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