Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Like Chaff in the Wind by Anna Belfrage

When we last left Matthew and Alex, they had fallen into each other’s arms to live a simple life on their manor in 1644 Scotland. But when Matthew travels into the city one morning to hear the king’s message to his people, he is inconspicuously abducted and thrown onto a ship bound for the colonies as an indentured slave. Though Matthew insists that he is a free man and has committed no crime, he is treated brutally on the tobacco plantation, Suffolk Rose, in Jamestown. Alex knows that something isn’t right when Matthew doesn’t come home so she quickly finds out what his nefarious nemesis has done and leaves her young son behind to follow on ship to the colonies to find and rescue her beloved husband. But Alex’s journey is not a fast or easy one, and time is running out for Matthew, who is starving, beaten and worked like an animal. Will the two lovers ever be reunited, and will Matthew’s enemy pay for what he has done to an innocent man? In this beguiling and fast paced sequel to A Rip in the Veil, two lovers will be ripped apart in a scheme that will leave readers shocked, angered, and outraged.

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.

19 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks said...

There isn't much historical fiction set in this area so I would be quite interested in this one. Great review!

Book Dilettante said...

Sounds a dark romance in an historical tale. I am reading quite a bit of the historical nowadays and will add this one to my list!

Literary Feline said...

This book (and the first) does sound exciting! I am not sure I would have the courage to go rescue my love in the same situation, especially with a young child at home, but that's why we read books like this! So someone else can do it and we can go along for the ride from the safety of our homes.

Booklogged said...

What a fabulous review! You have piqued my interest in this series.

Suko said...

This does sound suspenseful and wonderful! Another excellent review!

bermudaonion said...

It sounds like this is full of action! I bet you were turning the pages as fast as you could.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I'm adding the two books to my list. I enjoy time travel and this sounds good!

Brooke said...

Great review, Heather! Love all the action and this series sounds like a lot of fun.

Beth F said...

Wow, you are so convincing with these books.

Charlie (The Worm Hole) said...

I wasn't so keen on the first, but this one left so much potential for the next book. The way Belfrage wove the themes in was really good, they were neither in your face, so to speak, or neglected, and I like that she is of course able to address the problems we find with history straight on. Hoping she will look at Mercedes life in more depth, there are a lot of exciting possibilities there.

Stacy at The Novel Life said...

What a wonderfully passionate review! I like that this novel has a strong female protagonist ~ it seems like several authors have improved upon that area recently. And your description of man bending rather than breaking - beautiful! You had me sold right there.

Audra said...

Great review -- I didn't love this one as much as I enjoyed the first book but I'm looking forward to the next installment -- Belfrage manages romance and a darker plot with a great historical background!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Sounds like you really loved this book and author. Sadly, this is the first I've heard of her, but should add it to my future reading list.

Thanks for sharing.

Elizabeth said...

You need to stop reading such good books - I will never be able to catch up! I love a strong female protagonist, so this one sounds right up my alley.

Carole said...

Hi, I just noticed this review and wondered if you would like to link it in to the new monthly collection of books that people loved on Carole's Chatter. This is the link There are already quite a few books linked in that you might be interested in. It would be great if you came on over. Cheers

Marie said...

oh my goodness they sound wonderful! thanks for telling us about them!

Darlene said...

Well I don't want to read too much since I picked this one up as well on your recommendation. I'm really looking forward to both books.

Lisa said...

I'm with Diane, I don't recall hearing of this author before. Although clearly I must have; you've obviously read, and more than likely reviewed, other books. Need to add the series to my wish list.

Aarti said...

Wow, Heather, great review! It takes a plot that I would generally see as a bit over the top - a man being kidnapped into indentured slavery and his wife following him halfway across the world - and instead makes me want to read the book. Great work!

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