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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review - - The Turncoat

The Turncoat
Renegades of the Revolution - Book 1
By Donna Thorland
Publisher:  NAL
Release Date:  March 5, 2013



1777 Philadelphia

Kate Grey is a sheltered young Quaker woman with no taste for war.  Well educated, she enjoys debating strategy with her father and stays informed of the facts surrounding the fight for freedom but all that is far from her county home...until the night Peter Tremayne and his British troops show up at her front door.  Smitten with the handsome young officer, Kate feels the first stirrings of desire and is on the verge of succumbing to his seduction when a Rebel raiding party sends Peter and his troops back into the night.  Unbeknownst to Kate, "Aunt Angela," a master spy in whose care her father left her when he re-joined Washington's Army, has stolen military plans that Peter was carrying, sending Angela and a reluctant Kate fleeing into the night as well.  Events that follow open Kate's eyes to some harsh realities and by the time they reach General Washington, Kate is ready to offer her services to the cause.

Narrowly escaping a court martial and hanging after the theft of the military dispatches he was carrying, Major Peter Tremayne, Lord Sancreed, returns to Philadelphia after several months with orders to find the woman who betrayed him.  It's the only way he can redeem himself with his British superiors.  He never named Kate while being interrogated, focusing instead on Angela even though he believes both women guilty.    Still, he's sickened by the idea that he could be the cause of either woman being captured, almost undoubtedly tortured and ultimately hanged, especially Kate, the young woman who still lingers in his mind.  At least she is safe on her father's country farm.  Or so he thinks.  When he attends a ball given by General Howe, he's shocked to come face to face with Lydia Dare, a glamorous, sophisticated woman who is engaged to his cruel cousin; a woman Peter knows as sweet, unassuming Kate Grey.

Thorland has captured a tumultuous time in the history of the United States when ordinary citizens risked their safety, their reputations, their very lives by spying for the Rebels in America's fight for independence.   By the time Peter returns to Philadelphia, Kate has been trained, socially polished and is firmly entrenched as one of General Washington's most effective spies.  The initial attraction between them remains and feelings grow as they spend time in each other's company yet they remain firmly on opposite sides of the war with duty and desire battling for supremacy. It's a dangerous game they play, both politically and privately, with high stakes and the potential for deadly consequences around every corner.

I'm fascinated by this period in my country's history.  In my opinion, there aren't nearly enough books set during the American Revolution. Thorland has created a fascinating heroine who, while not a real person, is based on female spies who were instrumental in gathering information for the American side during the Revolution.  Kate, who at first seems a straight-forward, intelligent but naive young woman, is slowly revealed to be a complex, extraordinary patriot who gives her all for her country, at times with devastating consequences.  While there is definitely a romance and an eventual happy ending, it's Kate who kept me riveted to the pages rather than the couple of Kate and Peter.  The actions of the villains are true to time and place and Thorland, to her credit, presents realistic (though sometimes difficult to read) scenes rather than a modern, sanitized version of events.  Thorland also skillfully weaves her main fictional characters with real people (George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, British spymaster John André and more) and a richly detailed secondary cast to bring us a fast-paced story filled with historically accurate intrigue, betrayal and heart-stopping suspense.

I received a copy of The Turncoat from NAL in exchange for an honest review.  One person leaving a comment will be randomly chosen to receive that copy.  

Do you enjoy books set during the American Revolution?  In what location / period of time would you like to see more romances set?

~PJ

25 comments:

  1. Hi, PJ!

    That was a great review of a novel that I have been eyeing for awhile now. It is definitely on my Wish List.

    Yes, I do like books set during the American Revolution and remember reading and loving quite a number of them especially when I was in middle school.

    While this is a time period quite different from the American Revolution, I would love to see more romances set in Victorian times in an large, lonely castle out on the moors, a la Victoria Holt. My favorite setting!

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    1. Hope you enjoy the book, Connie! Have you read Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed by Anna Campbell or The Temptation of Your Touch by Teresa Medeiros? They both have Gothic overtones. Another one I enjoyed a lot is Too Wicked to Kiss by Erica Ridley. Very Gothic!

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  2. PJ, I am so excited about this book because I love stories set during the American Revolution....and they are so very hard to find. I've read several by Gilbert Morris and there is another series (Christian romance) by Dianna Crawford and Sally Laity that are also quite good. I also like the preteen book from years ago by Ann Rinaldi titled Time Enough For Drums.

    Thank you for the excellent review. I will definitely put this on my TBB list.

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    1. You're welcome, Deb! I hope you enjoy it!

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  3. WOW!!Sounds wonderful. It would be great to win a copy!!

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    1. Keep your fingers crossed, Betty. You never know! :)

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  4. I love historical romance and would love to read a story set int the American Revolution! Thank you for the giveaway!
    I prefer Regency-Victorian!

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  5. I used to read American based historicals/romances (Revolution/Civil War) and then got into the Regency/Georgian England Era. I would love to revisit this time period and it seems like a great one to do this with!

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    1. I think there's room fr all those times and places, Chloe. Hope you enjoy The Turncoat!

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  6. I haven't read too many of those but I did enjoy the ones that I read. :) I am usually more of a regency England girl just because there are more books about that period/place.

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    1. I read a lot of Regency romances too, May but I enjoy a change of pace from time to time.

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  7. I finished this book last night and it held me spellbound! As a true romance reader, I wanted to full on happily ever after, and didn't quite get that, but it in now way diminished the power of this story. Thorland's writing reminded me of Ken Follett at his best, quite honestly... I highly recommend! (And now really want a hard copy to put on my keeper shelf, the nook version is less flashy!)

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    1. I agree, Jennifer. A more complete romance would have upped the number of stars for me but, romance aside, the book was fantastic. I'll definitely be buying the next book in the series!

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  8. Wonderful novel which interests me greatly. Books that are set in the Edwardian era capture my interest.

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  9. The Turncoat sounds compelling and special. Ones that appeal to me take place in the 30's, 40's and 50's anywhere. America, Europe, Australia. Lovely.

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  10. Thanks for the review. I enjoy all historicals since I want to be taken away to other times and places. I tend to think the older the better but I still like them all.

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    1. I tend to enjoy most time periods too. The most important factor is a well-told story.

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  11. SO putting this one on my reading list! Thanks, PJ! I love this era and the conflict and the setting...so I try to read them as much as I can. :)

    Other eras--I do like the 40s, 50s, and 60s as well, especially as a women's fiction/women's lib sort of setting to remind us what has been hard won.

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    1. I think you'd enjoy this one, Hellie!

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  12. When I first started reading romance back in 1990, there were a lot of historicals set in America during the Revolution and Civil War and I enjoyed them. I wish more were published today. Great review, PJ! I love the sound of this one! :)

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    1. When I first started reading romance back in 1990, there were a lot of historicals set in America during the Revolution and Civil War

      And I probably read most of them. ;-)

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  13. I've always been fascinated by the period of the War for Independence, perhaps because I live in an area where a lot went on. It's also a difficult time period when family, friends and neighbors may have supported different sides.

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