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The Wolves of Andover ~ Kathleen Kent

December 29, 2010

Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
320 pages
ISBN: 9780316068628
Source: Publisher via contest at Wonders and Marvels

At nineteen, “old maid” Martha is becoming a bit of a burden on her family. Her looks aren’t lacking but neither are her quick wit or her ability to question every and all authority figures. It is with this sentiment that she is shipped from Andover to Billerica in order, in guise, to aid her cousin with the birth of her third child and, in reality, to get her out of her parents’ house, already. Talented as she is with housework and midwifery, Martha is not at all pleased to be at her cousin’s every beck and call. The dull New England wilderness and her cousin’s sharp tongue aren’t exactly the things dreams are made of.

Ah, but of course, this is the New World, we’re in and there has to be some adventure to be found. How about that handsome Welsh servant with the rather clouded military background? What about the men who keep showing up at the doorstep asking for said hired help?

Well, Martha, my dear, just stay tuned and you might find that Billerica isn’t all that dull, after all.

I was so excited to win this from Wonders and Marvels and wasn’t totally disappointed. The writing is great, if gory at times, and Martha is just fabulous.

I loved the depiction of the pre-revolutionary New England, especially because the region is so near and dear to my heart. It was fun to live through the towns of my childhood about three hundred years before I was there. I grew up in the town next to Billerica and  spent my weekends in Andover, making this story neat in a more personal way.

My biggest and perhaps only, criticism was that it seemed a little bit disjointed in many places. I often had to flip back through after reading a chapter and make sure that I was literally on the right page with the  rest of the story. I think, rather than bad storytelling or bad writing, it came from interweaving too many different threads together. Not an unworthy attempt but it needed to be a little bit firmed up or fleshed out or, maybe both.

That should have deterred me from closing this with a positive finish but it had enough positives, and no, not just the location, to keep it afloat. It also became more cohesive, and suddenly stronger, about halfway through. I didn’t realize that this was a companion or prequel to The Heretic’s Daughter (now, I get that it’s pretty hard not to, well, get it). Despite the arguments I had with the rambling and somewhat scattered plot line, I would try Kent’s first book, if only for the word weaving.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 30, 2010 12:24 pm

    I have this book and am really excited about getting the chance to read it in the upcoming year. I am glad to hear that you mostly liked it!

  2. January 2, 2011 3:51 pm

    This sounds interesting, but I think I’ll have to be in the right mood to read it. Great review!

  3. January 2, 2011 8:03 pm

    I’ve seen some mixed reviews of this one. I still plan on reading it though. I loved her first book.

  4. January 27, 2011 8:18 am

    I liked this one — and haven’t read Kent’s first book — but gave it only a C+. It was interesting enough but it didn’t wow me.

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