"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." ~ Dame Agatha Christie

Monday, May 13, 2013

Book Review--Suzanne Adair's Latest Earns 5 Huzzahs!

A kidnapping forces his past into his present. Will it also impact his future?

Lt. Michael Stoddard of Yorkshire now serves His Majesty in the Army and is stationed in the Carolinas while Tarleton and Cornwallis try to curtail the rebels and maintain the Colonies for George III. Stoddard is a man of integrity who finds that all things in war are not black and white and wearing a red coat does not ensure its owner is morally upright. He also discovers that some rebels have a higher moral compass than the King's men.

We first meet Stoddard in Paper Woman, another excellent tale by Suzanne Adair. He has since become the star of his own series--Regulated for Murder and A Hostage to Heritage. While each of Suzanne's books can be read as stand-alones, they also build on one another in a seamless fashion and reading them in order increases the enjoyment of an overall underlying story arc.

Regulated for Murder gives us a ten-year old cold case tied to a present-day murder. A Hostage to Heritage gives us a kidnapping--but not just a normal kidnapping.
Hostage also gives us a series of jolts regarding Lt. Michael Stoddard. Those jolts give him hard choices regarding his own soul. I try not to post anything that can be considered a spoiler, so I'll just say that Hostage kept me up late two nights in a row because I just couldn't stop reading ;-)

If you have read the St. James' series by Suzanne, you will enjoy how characters make cameos throughout the Stoddard books. Her female characters are believable and appropriate for the times--they are not 21st century women wearing homespun. And although the setting is the Revolutionary War, blood and gore and battle scenes are not the means for ratcheting the tension in either story. And believe me, the tension is there. Even the descriptive passages don't take away from the plot movement. Some folks may think the cast of characters is somewhat large and hard to follow but each character definitely plays an important role in either Stoddard's past, present or future.

So we have murder, war, espionage, kidnapping, tax evasion, and bootlegging all competing with military and civilian politics. The wondrous part of it all is that even though all those things are present in America today, both Regulated and
Hostage are true to the 1780s in manner of speech, mode of dress, and behavior of the characters. Even the male/female tensions are believable (no bodice-ripper extraneous romance here).

The history is fascinating but woven in so carefully that I didn't realize I was learning about the southern theater of the American Revolution. You smell the cabbages and manure, you hear the thud of a trussed up body slam against a wooden wall, and you race along with your heart in your throat as men who should be comrades decide whether or not to kill each other.

Lastly, the amateur historian in me absolutely loves the bibliography/list of sources we get with each of the books. I can turn from fiction right to my library or online book sources to read more about Yorkshire, Hillsborough, Wilmington, Tarleton, Cornwallis, et al.

Whether male or female, if you enjoy multilayer plots set in well-researched history, you can't go wrong reading anything by Suzanne Adair.

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