Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: The Turncoat by Donna Thorland

Set in colonial Philadelphia, a sheltered Quaker girl turns worldly spy for Washington after her brief encounter with a British officer.

Let me preface this by saying I love Philadelphia history. I am from the Philly area myself and I have a long family history there dating back to early colonial times (like the founding of Germantown... like one of my ancestors immigrated along side Francis Daniel Pastorius). So I am going to be bias for any novel set in colonial Philadelphia. But that doesn't mean I don't have some criticism.

My main criticism was of the initial characterization of Peter Tremayne. He is self-admittedly a former plundering rapist until he meets our heroine and does a complete 180. And this is all based on spending one evening with her. I just found it hard to believe. At least in Thorland's other novels, the hero may be a bit of a rogue but he's not a rapist who is immediately reformed after one day with the heroine. Maybe it's because this was her first novel, maybe she learned from this and went on to form more believable main characters.

That aside, I loved everything about this novel. As usual, the historical politics, espionage, and historical figures really bring it to life. Easy to read with great dialogue and a fast paced plot, I am finding I can always rely on Thorland for a quick, fun novel that is steeped in local history.

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