Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: "The Wolves of Andover" by Kathleen Kent

From Goodreads:  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 mysterious past. The two begin a courtship that suits their independent natures, with Thomas slowly revealing the story of his part 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. A love story and a tale of courage, The Wolves of Andover confirms Kathleen Kent's ability to craft powerful stories of family from colonial history.

My Thoughts:  I picked this up because I read The Heretic's Daughter a few years ago and really enjoyed it.  It wasn't until I was well into the book that I realized it is a prequel to The Heretic's Daughter (I may have to reread it now!).  The Wolves of Andover takes place in the 17th century and bounces between London and the Massachusetts colony.  It follows the story of Martha, a woman who is sent to work as a servant in her cousin's house.  Martha is such a strong female lead.  She is 'older' (23) and unmarried and pretty feisty.  As the story progresses, the reader finds out that she has overcome some pretty serious abuse which explains some of her behavior.  Her cousin is not very useful so she has to jump in and take care of the house, children and the hired help.  Thomas is one of the hired men working on the farm.  Honestly, as a character Thomas kind of made me swoon.  He was a lot older than Martha and not much is known about his past (until the end) but he seemed to always say and do the right things while still being so humble.  This is a love story but it is so subtle that it's not sappy or overpowering to the rest of the story.

I really like reading about colonial America and this book made me want to read more.  Kent paints a fantastic picture of colonial life; her descriptions of farm life and the trappings of a colonial household make this story that much more interesting.  I also loved how Kent blended the story of the execution of Charles I with Martha's story by drawing from the legends passed down in her family.  She is a descendant of one of the women executed in the Salem witch trials and she uses her family history as an inspiration for her books.  Overall, this was a completely unique story and a great read.  4 stars.

  Quotes I loved: 

-“Oh fer Christ's bloody sake Martha I didna' raise ye to be well regarded. To be liked. Any puny weak-waisted slut can be liked. I raised ye to be reckoned with.” 

-“You ask me what makes a woman comely?" He tapped one finger lightly against her temple and said, "Thoughts, missus. It's thoughts that make a woman so.” 

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