Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Book Review: The Turning of Anne Merrick by Christine Blevins

She spies for General Washington, betrays the Redcoats and battles for America's independence...

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.

My Review

4 Stars

The Turning of Anne Merrick, the second novel in Christine Blevins' American Revolution series, finds our heroine, Anne Merrick, once again using her considerable charms on the British in an effort to gather intelligence for the Patriot cause.  While the series' first novel, The Tory Widow, takes place in New York City, this second book has Anne once again acting as a Patriot spy when she and her trusted servant Sally join British General Burgoyne's campaign down the Hudson Valley.  With the collapse of Burgoyne's forces, Anne and Sally join up with the Patriot army to winter at Valley Forge.   Once again reunited with her lover Jack Hampton, who serves as a Patriot scout, Anne hopes that she can put her spying days behind her and start a new life with Jack.  General Washington, however, has other plans and calls on Anne to again assume the role of dedicated loyalist, this time in British-occupied Philadelphia where it is expected she will gather much needed intelligence about British plans.  While this mission means another separation from Jack, she accepts without question knowing that any information she can gather could help defeat the British.   But the mission to Philadelphia, where Anne opens a coffee house, proves to be her most dangerous yet.   Not only are spies are being hung for treason, but someone from Anne's past resurfaces intent on destroying Anne and all she holds dear. 

Overall, The Turning of Anne Merrick is a great read.   Blevins paints a vivid portrait of life with the British army, at that time the most formidable army in the world, as well as with the Patriot army under General Washington.   I found Anne's days with the British Army and as a 'loyalist' coffee house owner in Philadelphia to be especially interesting and entertaining.    One of the greatest strengths of this novel is the relationship between Anne and Jack.  I admit I wasn't a big fan of Jack in the first novel but after reading the second book I've grown to like him.   While I didn't at first find Jack to be a good match for Anne, by the end of this novel I came to better understand their relationship.     Although the events at the conclusion of this novel seemed somewhat implausible, my interest in them never waned.   Before I had finished, I found myself looking forward to the events of the next book.

Although The Turning of Anne Merrick can be read as a stand alone novel, I highly recommend reading The Tory Widow first as it gives important background on the characters and events of this novel.  

Recommended to fans of historical fiction, particularly those interested in the American Revolution.

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this novel as a host for The Turning of Anne Merrick Virtual Book Tour.  

For further information on The Turning of Anne Merrick Historical Book Tour see the HF Virtual Book Tour Schedule at: http://hfvirtualbooktours.blogspot.com/2012/01/christine-blevins-on-tour-for-turning.html
Tour Event Twitter hashtag: #TurningofAnneMerrickVirtualTour

For further information about Christine Blevins you can check her out at the following sites:

Christine Blevins website: www.christineblevins.com
Christine Blevins on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christine.blevins
Follow Christine on Twitter:  @Author_CBlevins