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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Review: The Turning of Anne Merrick by Christine Blevins


The Turning of Anne Merrick by Christine Blevins
Book 2 in the American Independence Series
ARC, Paperback, 448 pages
Berkley Trade
February 7, 2012
★★★★½☆

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Received from the Publisher for review as part of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
"The new United States of America. 
It’s 1777, and a fledgling country wages an almost hopeless struggle against the might of the British Empire. Brought together by a fateful kiss, Anne Merrick and Jack Hampton are devoted to each other and to their Patriot cause. As part of Washington’s daring network of spies, they are ready and willing to pay even the ultimate price for freedom. 
From battlefields raging along the Hudson, to the desperate winter encampment at Valley Forge and through the dangerous intrigue of British-occupied Philadelphia, Anne and Jack brave the trials of separation, the ravages of war and an unyielding enemy growing ever more ruthless. 
For love and for country, all is put at risk-and together the pair must call upon their every ounce of courage and cunning in order to survive."

I read this book as a standalone – although I have had the first book for over a year and had every intention of reading it first, but alas, time was not on my side (I just barely finished this one in time for my review tour stop!). There were moments and references that were made that I knew were in relation to something from book 1, but they were explained enough that I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything critical to my understanding and enjoyment of this book. It did however make me itch to pick up the first book!

This novel had a little bit of everything that I look for in a good read. The story was never slow or dragging – we moved right along from one event to the next. There was great character development and I’m sure if I had read book 1 I would have seen the characters grow from there too. I instantly took a liking to the characters and can’t wait to read more about their adventures. There were moments that pulled on the heart-strings and I certainly shed a few tears. One of most remarkable aspects of this novel is that although it is a book about the American Revolution you really get to see and feel both the rebel and loyalist sides. While Anne serves as a spy amongst the British troops there are times where you feel her sympathy for the soldiers and people fighting. You see how both sides dealt with feelings of hopelessness and excitement, passion and determination, and how the side they are fight on is the side of right. It really gave the book a well rounded feel for the world.

In terms of structure of the book, I loved the addition of maps throughout the book. The novel is broken up into segments that take place along the British movement from Fort Anne, the rebel encampment at Valley Forge and in occupied New York City. At the beginning of each of these sections there is a map showing places that are referred to in the section and really helps to give you a better sense of the world around the characters.

A couple of random comments to round out this review. I loved the little nod to American hero Nathan Hale (who remains nameless in the book). Growing up in East Haddam, CT he holds a small place in my heart. Our school system is in part named after him and he taught school in our town for awhile and you can still visit his school house. As soon as I saw the mention of a heroic spy who was captured, I recited the lines from heart “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country”. I also think that this could be a great war drama film. With the action, romance, and excitement it would be enjoyable.

Author Christine Blevins also has written The Tory Widow (the 1st book in this series) and Midwife of the Blue Ridge (a standalone book). You can visit Christine’s website or blog for additional information about the book. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book?

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).


 
You can follow along with the rest of the tour at the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour site or following hashtag #TurningofAnneMerrickVirtualTour on Twitter.
 
 




Copyright © 2012 by The Maiden’s Court

6 comments:

  1. The cover instantly catches my attention - there is something magical about a person who is standing and having their clothing whip around them by a force of nature!

    I do not read much historical fiction - beyond the "bodice-ripping" ones ;) - and the ones I do pick up don't really tempt me to find more. I admit though that I try to dive into British, Spanish, or French history - and maybe what I should really do is start with my homeland!

    The American Revolution always seems to be fascinating - I instantly think of Ann Rinaldi's books which I adored when I was younger. I like strong women characters, and this one sounds like she can hold her own. I am impressed that both sides get the same loving attention to detail - and you can also feel sympathetic to the British soldiers.

    How cool that you recognized Nathan Hale! I don't think that I would have, but I know how it feels to find some small personal gem inside a story (for me, reading books about Iowa towns that I live/d in). Awesome! :)

    I will have to check out this book! If I enjoy it, thank you for pointing me in the right direction of American historical fiction :)

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    1. I too LOVED Rinaldi's books as a kid and I have taken to re-reading some of them again. Such a great writer. Hope you find some American HistFic to your liking!

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  2. Looking forward to this one but I've got to find time to read The Tory Widow first. I make myself read in order (I'm such a nerd!). I've read quite a bit about the civil war but not so much set during the revolutionary war. Love the cover for this one too :)

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    1. I almost always read series in order, and I had every intention too here as well. I have had the Tory Widow for so long, but with school and mandatory overtime at work I ended up just barely squeeking in finishing Anne Merrick for the tour date - nevermind Tory Widow! I too haven't read much from the Revolution either, but love it so much!

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  3. I read the books in order, and actually think that it helps you appreciate Jack and Anne's relationship in this book to see where they came from. I did like both of these books and I am now planning to go back to read Midwife.

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    1. Oh I am sure that you get a deeper understanding of their relationship reading it in order. I wish I had the time to! I have Midwife too and am looking forward to reading it!

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Thanks for leaving your comments! I love reading them and try to reply to all!