I have to hand it to Anna Belfrage. Not only does she manage to captivate her readers with the plot of her tales, it’s hard to resist her characters as well, both for their incongruities and their pervasive courage and wit. This is a series that has had me on tenterhooks as a reader, wondering where it would go next and how the characters would overcome overwhelming odds to be reconnected and reunited. I guess it goes without saying that I am eagerly awaiting the next installment!
When Matthew doesn’t return home after a day in town, Alex is instantly suspicious. After all, their enemy has promised that he will kill and maim in return for the damage that was done him, which I must admit was substantial. But in Matthew’s defense, this man had it coming. Though Matthew only wants to live out a life of peace and love with his Alex, this seems almost impossible with both members of the couple in constant danger and always looking over their shoulder. But when Alex discovers that Matthew has been kidnapped and sold into slavery, she is thrown into a desperate conundrum, for she has a child at home who is just a baby, and a trip to the colonies could take a year or more.
As it turns out, Alex’s journey takes far longer than necessary, and it’s only the hope that she nourishes in her heart that keeps her going, missing the love and company of both her child and her husband. Alex thinks no more of the past that she left, only of the future and what it’s going to take to save Matthew. With her travelling companion, the wry and extremely adept Mrs. Gordon, Alex makes the crossing from Scotland to Jamestown, knowing that every day her husband comes closer and closer to death. And life for Matthew is indeed dangerous, as he has been singled out for the most cruel work and punishments, his life and energy flickering away each day.
Belfrage manages to do much with her material, covering themes of indentured slavery, revenge, governmental injustice, and cruelty. In her capable hands these topics are not only explored in depth, but given the touches of humanism that make the modern reader not only outraged, but seething for justice to be done for those souls who are just as tortured as Matthew. It’s a dark tale, and one that manages to expose what life was really like in the colonies back then, and it made me enraged and left me endlessly hoping that Alex would come to claim Matthew before it was too late. But as always, there is a price to be paid, and it is unfortunately very steep. Love and devotion pit themselves against rage and abuse in this breathtaking tale of injustice and its long lasting effects.
I love these books, and think that Anna Belfrage is an author of extreme talent, for she makes her female protagonists smart, strong and very independent, while making her male characters willing to bend instead of breaking. If you haven’t experienced these books yet, I must say that you can find them very reasonably priced for ereaders, and believe me, once you get sucked in, you will never want to leave this very real, and very vivid world of the past. Highly recommended!
This book was provided as a complimentary review copy.