Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Turning of Anne Merrick by Christine Blevins

Title: The Turning of Anne Merrick
Author: Christine Blevins

Genre: Fiction (Historical / American Revolution / 18th century / Historical Figures Fictionalized / Women in War / Love Triangle)
Publisher/Publication Date: Berkley Trade Publishing (2/7/2012)
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Rating: Loved!
Did I finish?: Yes -- inhaled this one in days!
One-sentence summary: Widow Anne Merrick disguises herself as a loyal Tory among English troops during their campaign to Albany while her true love fights with the American rebels.
Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: Yes! First, the woman has her whole head, hurrah! And I like -- nay, love -- her dress. And she's sort of unusual looking for a histfic cover model, I think, which endears the cover to me even more!

I'm reminded of...: Diana Gabaldon, Sandra Gulland, Georgette Heyer

First line: In the distance, the resound of ax iron biting into wood echoed up from the valley floor, adding ringing harmony to the morning song of a nearby thrush.

Did... I find myself alternating who I wanted Anne to be Truly In Love With throughout my read?: YES. Both love options were wicked bohunky, and I do love a good triangle when it's fun and lacking wangst.

Did... I adore the Historical Notes at the end, detailing who was historical and what really happened with them?: YES. History, plus gossip equals win.

Am... I desperately hoping the end of this book is hinting at another book?: YES. Moar please!

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Buy -- get this and the earlier book, The Tory Widow, for some delightful reads!

Why did I get this book?: I love fic set during the American Revolution -- so I needed this one!

Review: I loved this book. Just flat out loved it. One of my favorite historical eras -- the American revolution -- combined with a romantic triangle of sorts, great writing, and a fantabulous heroine that I desperately want as a best friend.

Set in 1777, this book is technically the sequel to Blevins' The Tory Widow which I sadly didn't get around to reading before starting this one.  However, I didn't feel lost at any time -- Blevins immediately pulled me in to Anne's story and she offered enough details from the previous book that I understood what had occurred and why people were behaving as they were.  (Word of warning, events in The Tory Widow will be spoiled for you if you read this one, so if you're a stickler for surprises, don't start here.)  Since I loved this one, I'm still going back to read The Tory Widow because I don't care if I kind of know the plot -- I need me some more Anne Merrick!

Clearly, our heroine Anne was the hook for me -- she's the kind of character I would follow for ten more books (I understand now why people get so rabid for Gabaldon's series!).  Blevins' storytelling was thick with historical detail, offered in a lovely style that didn't feel in your face.  Her history was human, and I loved seeing such a feminine side of war (so to speak).  Anne spies for the American rebels by maintaining her facade as a Tory widow while traveling with British troops.  Despite her patriotic loyalties, she's still moved and horrified by war and the results -- especially the deaths -- her actions cause.

Blevins doesn't sugar coat the historical horrors of war (even though she adjusts one military punishment for fear readers would think she was exaggerating!), but she's not blunt, over-the-top, or grotesque.  If you're not into romance, this might not be the book for you -- there's no heaving bosoms, but there is a romantic triangle between Anne, the man she loves, and the British officer who is cute and pays attention to her and is all dreamy and flirty and... (why yes, now and then I did indulge in some alternate universe day dreaming where they could be happily ever after!). 

So, long story short, get this book. Well, get this and The Tory Widow, and read them both. You can thank me later!

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GIVEAWAY!

I'm thrilled offer a copy of The Turning of Anne Merrick to one lucky reader! To enter, fill out this brief form. Open to US/international readers, ends 3/23.

I'm also giving away 18th Century Stationery – just the sort of sundry Anne Merrick peddled to those bloodyback scoundrels in Burgoyne’s camp. Supplied with a quill pen and wrapped for convenient stowing amidst your gear, these sheets and envelopes are perfect for scrieving all manner of secret messages – invisible ink not included. Open to US/international readers, ends 3/23. Fill out this form to enter!

19 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Anna -- I think you'd really enjoy this one -- definitely a war novel that focuses on the women -- moving without being overwrought!

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  2. You are officially the biggest source of my increasingly unmanageable TBR pile Audra :) Another great review!

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    1. Plus, I can't even feign regret at doing so because seriously, good books = good books. Who am I to stop the flow of good books to good people? ;)

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  3. This one sounds fantastic! That there are hints of Albany intrigues me too. While reading A People's History, I keep thinking I need to read more American-based historical fiction, so this one sounds perfect. I requested the first one from the library and can't wait to dig in!

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  4. Wow, your enthusiasm for this one is infectious ;)

    I don't read much set in this time period, but you make me think that this one is not to be missed...another one to add to the list! Great review on this one.

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  5. I too really hoped to get to The Tory Widow first - it has been on my shelf for ages! but time didn't allow. I am dying to go back and read it now that I have had hints of what happens. Absolutely wonderful Revolution read. And oh how I loved her "if only" man!

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    1. Geoff could so be my boyfriend -- gah, for the enemy, he was a cutie!

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  6. Sounds like a great read. I'm having a giveaway of my own for a signed copy of John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. Stop by if you get a chance:)

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  7. I just won this book from Mailbox Monday. I hope I get to it sooner rather than later, but alas there are other books ahead of this one.

    --serena

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  8. I really liked both of these books. I would strongly encourage you to read Tory Widow as you definitely see where the relationship between Jack and Anne came from. Now I need to go back and read Midwife of the Blue Ridge which isn't connected to these two books but I want to have read all of Blevins' books.

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    1. I def want to read all three of her books (and the fourth, when her next one comes out!). I think I'm going to try them this fall -- something about the setting feels very autumnal to me!

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  9. Loving it :) Yay for covers where the models get to keep their heads

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    1. I hear you, sister!
      With some lobbying I managed to get a 3/4 head on THE TORY WIDOW, and worked it again to get the whole head in this time. The head was lopped off on the cover of my debut novel, MIDWIFE OF THE BLUE RIDGE, and it was a shame. The artist's rendition showed the full face, and he caught Maggie Duncan (my MC) exact to how I always imagined her! You can see the full illustration here. http://paintlayers.blogspot.com/2007/11/midwife-of-blue-ridge.html Besides the headchop, Maggie was also given a more modest cleavage for the final book cover for some reason.

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  10. Hey Audra- I am so happy that you "love" TURNING! Thanks so much for being the awesome revolutionary book blogger that you are, and for digging my stuff!

    XOXO <3

    Christine Blevins

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    Replies
    1. Ms Blevins -- thank you for the lovely note!! I so appreciate your stopping by -- <3 your books and I can't wait for your next one to come!

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  11. I love that you can pick up this second installment and not feel like you are lost without having read the first one. This does sound like an excellent book, and since I haven't read much about The American Revolution, I would love to see what this book does with it's subject matter. Fantastic review today. I loved it!

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  12. Wow, today is International Women's Day and I come across this book give-away. Thanks for throwing it open to international wanna-be readers as I am from India.

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  13. I love this time period! Thanks for the giveaway!

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