Title: The Wolves of Andover
Author: Kathleen Kent
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Publication Date: November 8, 2010
Pages: 320 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.5 Crowns
Martha Allen, fated to be a spinster and farmed out to any family member that needs her, arrives at the home of her cousins Patience and Daniel Taylor to help them while Patience is preparing for the birth of her third child. The Taylor dwelling in Billerica Massachusetts is being plagued by wolves. When Welsh hired hand Thomas Carrier saves Martha from a wolf attack she takes notice of him and their relationship slowly begins to evolve but Thomas may not be who she thinks. In London, 5 assassins in the service of King Charles II embark for colonial Massachusetts to hunt down Thomas Morgan, the regicide who is rumored to have been the executioner to his father King Charles I. As Martha and Thomas glow closer while living in the harsh colonial environment, the assassins move closer to the colonies and the goal of ridding them of Oliver Cromwell’s old followers.
After reading The Heretic’s Daughter by Kent in 2008 and not really caring for it at all, I was pleasantly surprised by this novel, its prequel. I liked Martha right off the bat- she is opinionated and doesn’t back down from anyone (traits which her family thinks contributes to her still unmarried status). I felt bad for her having to deal with the much indulged and demanding Patience Taylor. Martha soon develops a genuine love for the Taylor children and works hard to keep the house in order while Patience endures her difficult pregnancy. She is intrigued by the mystery that surrounds Thomas Carrier-could he be a Regicide as they say? Was he a Soldier once? How did he come to be at the Taylor farm? Kent builds up her characters (especially Thomas) slowly, revealing details here and there to keep the reader intrigued. The author does a decent job of painting an accurate picture of the times-the unpleasant sea crossing to the colonies endured by the assassins, the rugged environment of the colonies complete with threats of wolves, plague, and potential Indian attacks.
The author has a way of throwing unexpected elements in the book which add to the story such as the cause of demise for one of the assassins and a kidnapping by a band of Indians. While the unexpected parts were interesting, this is where I had a little bit of a problem with the book. These parts left me feeling that yes they could occur in the situation the characters were in but it would be highly unlikely that they would. It took away from the plausibility of the story a little bit. Also there were parts that moved a little slowly for me and the reader should be forewarned that this book is more sympathetic to the Parliamentarians than the Royalists. I am usually not one for much romance in my books but I actually really enjoyed the understated way the Martha/Thomas love angle was handled. I also really enjoyed when Thomas’ story was finally revealed as his motives for his actions during the English Civil War felt genuine and was not far-fetched at all.
I love a good historical with a colonial America setting and this one had just the right balance of drama, love, and intrigue. It has changed my mind about this author as she is definitely someone I will read in the future.
I received this ARC from Crazy Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
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