Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Turncoat (Book Review)

Title: The Turncoat; Book One, Renegades of the Revolution
Author: Donna Thorland
Publication Information: NAL Trade Paperback, 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction, first in a series

Plot: 1977. Modest Kate Grey, a New Jersey Quaker who lives with her father and favors the Patriot cause, is confronted with the realities of war when her father joins General Washington and, hours later, Peter Tremayne, a British officer, and Redcoat soldiers invade her home. Kate is so mesmerized by the handsome stranger she is ready to throw virtue to the winds and while she bandies words with Peter, a mysterious widow, who turns out to be an accomplished spy, steals his papers (he is later court-martialed as a result). Peter and his men then flee from Rebel troops; the widow flees from his retribution to Washington, dragging Kate with her. When Kate, knowledgeable about military strategy from long talks with her father, realizes that Washington needs information about the British from General Howe, she offers to infiltrate Philadelphia Tory society and send secret reports back to help win the war. She does not expect to encounter Major Tremayne again, now that they are emphatically on opposing sides, but you won't be surprised to hear that he has survived his disgrace...
(I am afraid the Quakers are shaking their heads over the Grey family: the father is fighting with the Colonists and Kate gains a scandalous if mostly undeserved reputation.)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Heritage (Book Review)

Title: The Heritage
Author: Frances Parkinson Keyes (pronounced to rhyme with size)
Publication Information: Hardcover, McGraw-Hill, 1968
Genre: Historical Fiction

Plot: 1882. Peter Bradford, an indulged member of a prominent Irish-American Boston family, is traveling to Ireland to visit his great-uncle, James O’Toole, the Earl of Cloneen, whose heir he is. On the train en route, he meets a beautiful young woman, falls instantly in love, and they spend the night together. Desperate attempts to find her the next morning are unsuccessful. When Peter reaches Ireland, he has two shocks: his uncle has just died, and his uncle’s much-younger widow is Anne, the woman with whom he just spent the night. Deeply ashamed of her infidelity, Anne will barely speak to Peter, but there is an added complication: if she is pregnant with a son, their child will displace his own father as the new earl!

What I liked: I remembered this book while watching Downton Abbey because of the issue about the heir, and wanted to reread it right away.

Friday, February 1, 2013

With the Secretary of State

At Harvard Commencement several years ago - he was there for his daughter's graduation from Harvard Medical School and I was at my reunion.  I reminded him I had been a supporter since I was 11, and he was appreciative although I am afraid it made him feel a bit aged.