Passion, Romance, and Treachery in Thorland's "The Turncoat"
By Liz Everly
A month or so ago, while announcing the publication of my historical romance, TEMPTING WILL MCGLASHEN, I called for more early-American romances. (Check out my earlier blog post here.) I finally read Donna Thorland’s THE TURNCOAT, which I had flagged to read but a commenter said “Move it to the top of your pile.” And, dear reader, that is exactly what I did.
I’m so glad I did.
Here is a book that brings passion and romance to the American Revolution in a way that I’m not so sure has ever been done before. I think of the “Bastard Series.” Am I the only one who remember John Jake’s Bicentennial Bastard Series? I loved those books in the way that they brought American history to life. If I remember, not only was the series grounded in good historical research, but it also had these bits and pieces of naughtiness, which thrilled me, even as a young reader. I think I must have wanted more. I think I must not even realized it until I read THE TURNCOAT, which gives more, more, MORE, if you know what I mean. And I think you do.
Romance readers love a good spy story. But most of those spies are British. Sometimes they are French. But American? If this is not the only historical romance set during the American Revolution that features an American spy, please let me know. But this spy is not just a spy; the spy is a woman. In fact, there are several women spies in this book. Pshaw, you say? There were no women spies then? Then let me very happily tell you how wrong you are. Either I never thought about this, or I just never quite paid attention to it, but there was quite a network of females spies then. Now, as my historian-husband points out, most of them were not considered “spies” as we define them–but more informants, gathering information and delivering it to the “right” people. Spy, nonetheless.
Thorland gives you a little introduction to one of the female spies of the American Revolution in the back of this book, (Lydia Barrington Darragh) which ignited my geeky-research side into days of Internet searches and so on. But let’s not go down that long and twisty road. This is Lady Smut, after all, we are here to celebrate a smart AND SEXY read. And that’s exactly what this book is.
I admired Thorland’s deft ability at setting up the romance—and providing the obstacles to it. I fought myself. I really wanted to skip ahead. I couldn’t figure out just how the two main characters would get their happy ending. It seemed quite impossible. She manages this while giving plenty of historical details to chew on and adventure to make your heart race. If you love historical romances, read this book.
Check out the trailer:
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What are you reading these days?