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The Loyalist's Wife (The Loyalist Trilogy)…

The Loyalist's Wife (The Loyalist Trilogy)

by Elaine Cougler

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I was immediately intrigued by this historical novel, set during the American Revolutionary period, with its POV squarely focused with the Loyalists. I don't recall seeing another historical novel with a Loyalist bent since Christine Blevins' two novels about her Tory widow, Anne Merrick, and those books aren't wholly pro-UK. Cougler is descended from a Loyalist fighter, as it turns out!

Taking place between April 1778 through the spring of 1780, the novel follows a young married couple, John and Lucinda (Lucy) Garner, who have a small cabin in rural New York. John joins the Butler Rangers -- a militia group hoping to quickly beat back the Continentals before the end-of-summer harvest -- while Lucy remains at their small homestead.

What was to be a brief, relatively painless campaign turns into a greater ordeal for both, as John's wartime experiences are far more gruesome than he ever imagined, and Lucy's isolation made all the worse as the seasons tick on and danger threatens from multiple fronts. (I'm being kind of vague to keep from spoiling things.)

The writing style is straightforward, although occasionally too simplistic for my tastes (I sometimes felt as if rather intense moments were breezed over now and then, to my disappointment; I would have loved to dig in and really sit with some of these deeply distressing times!). The point-of-view switches every few chapters from Lucy to John, which I found a little maddening; while I appreciate what it does to build tension, it made me want to scream when the switch happened at a particularly tense moment or when I was really 'in' one particular character's psyche.

However, Cougler very effectively conveyed the immense anxiety of Lucy's plight -- that being alone in the wilderness wasn't made dangerous just from the wildlife, for example, or even a household accident -- and her articulation of grim guerilla battles had me even feeling sympathetic toward the Loyalist rangers.
She had killed a cow, hung it, and butchered it. She had raised a crop of corn, some wheat, and some hay, and harvested them all by herself. She had fended off a thief trying to take her land. Well, not alone, but she had been strong. As she sat at the table by the light of one candle, listening to the logs crackle and burn in the stove, her hands crept to her face. She held her head and whispered, "Oh, God." (p94)
There are some nice extras in this book: two pages of references, nearly three pages of discussion questions, and a one page teaser from the next book.

While the first in a planned trilogy, this one ends on a rather definitive note -- satisfying for those of us who find a cliff-hanger ending to be cruel! -- but has me intrigued about what happens next. I found this book to be a zippy, emotional story that had a familiar-ish setting but unusual orientation for our hero and heroine, so those who like American Revolution-era novels but want to see it from a different view point should consider this book! ( )
  unabridgedchick | Oct 14, 2013 |
I must admit, I've read many books centering around the Revolutionary War. Never have I read a book from the viewpoint of a British supporter. What a book! It will hold your interest from page one until the finish. Lucy and John are amazing people. John joins the British sympathizers Butler's Rangers and has to leave Lucy while fighting against the revolutionaries.

Lucy's story of survival is one of courage and great strength. We see the happenings from both Lucy's and John's perspective. Both underwent amazing ordeals. Here we have two people who just wanted to be left alone to farm their land. They were swept up in the terrible wartime.

I also loved reading about the Native Americans and how they interacted with both the American Revolutionaries and the British soldiers.

I highly recommend this book for any student of history or anyone just looking for a wonderful story. Does true love prevail? You'll just have to read the book to find out. ( )
  ljldml | Oct 13, 2013 |
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