Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review: The Traitor's Wife by Kathleen Kent


Title: The Traitor's Wife by Kathleen Kent
Publisher: Reagan Arthur/Back Bay Books
Published:September 26, 2011
ISBN: 9780316068642
Pages: 352

  The Traitor's Wife is the prequel to the Heretic's Daughter.  This book is the true start of the story of the Carrier family.  We get a glimpse into life in the colonies when they were still a raw place that offered promise to anyone willing to seize their destiny (as long as they minded the parson and other busy bodies). 

Martha Allen is a 20 year old spinster who is hired out by her stingy father..  At the start of the story, she is being deposited at her cousin's house.  All of this because her reputation as a mouthy woman with sharp wits has diminished her marriage prospects.The indignity of being servant to one's own kin is further compounded by the fact that her actual wages are paid to her father.  Her first task is to stake her place in the family as more than a maid.

Numerous rumors have Thomas Carrier as the axman to Charles the First.  His reticence to even discuss his past in the Old World intrigues Martha and she starts snooping through his things for the truth.  Eventually Thomas comes to tell her of his past so that she may see the path she is choosing for herself.The more she finds out about Thomas the less the actual facts of the past matter to her.  Even when assassins and their agents attempt to locate Thomas and spirit him away to England, she decides to stick by his side. 

Thomas Carrier, her cousin's hired man, is an enigma to her. She feels both attracted and put off by him.  Several events including a festival and wolf attack bind them together and allow these proud people to display their mutual admiration and growing love for each other.United by their mutual place outside of societal norms assassins, ill will from Martha's cousin, and ill health cannot bar the joining of Martha and Thomas. 

Having read the Heretic's daughter, I was pretty excited to read the Traitor's wife. I really wanted to read the back story of Martha Carrier, who stood up to the bullying of the Salem Witch Trials, and Thomas Carrier, who refused to force his wife to compromise her principles.  Discovering their back story gave a richer depth to the people they were in the Heretic's Daughter. The Traitor's Wife offers a peek into early colonial America and the culture and mores of the early colonist who seemed to spend their time fighting illness, Native Americans, and the harsh terrain.  The Traitor's Wife more than delivered on the promise of the Heretic's Daughter as well as being a great standalone novel.

** This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.  **

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