Revenge by Mitchell & Mitchell
|Revenge by Mitchell & Mitchell|
|Category: Historical Fiction|
|Reviewer: Kate Jones|
|Summary: A well-thought-out plot-driven romp through 17th Century England, through the eyes of a strong-willed young woman.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 340||Date: April 2017|
|Publisher: Independently Published|
Revenge opens with the news that Charles Stuart is to return to the throne as Charles II of England. A young woman, Ruth Courtney, is returning home to her family's farmhouse, excited at the prospect of a new King. She arrives home, however, to find her home ablaze and surrounded by renegade soldiers, supporters of Cromwell, her family nowhere to be found.
Following an assault by the leader of the men, and forced to attack him to protect herself, she is later found unconscious and rescued, and taken in by a kind local parson and his wife. Initially, she has no recollection of who she is, and is so deep in shock she cannot speak. Eventually, however, she regains her strength and voice, and the soldiers responsible are hung for their crimes. All but one, who returns later in the story.
As Ruth discovers she is pregnant to the soldier who violated her, she decides to assume her dead sister's name, Hope, as she was married and both she and her husband died in the raid. Receiving a marriage proposal from an elderly wealthy gentleman, she is advised to take his offer, believing it will provide the best hope for herself and her unborn child. But Sir Neville is not all he seems, and Ruth/Hope soon ends up on the run and fighting for her life.
The story has various twists and turns, and whilst Sir Neville's behaviour is initially a little suspect, I didn't see the main turn of events coming. The book is certainly plot driven, and the cast of characters did seem at times slightly stereotypical and a little one-dimensional, but in general, they were believable. For anybody interested in historical detail, there isn't a great deal in the book, though personally I don't like to be overloaded with details, so this wasn't a problem for me. The story does have a touch of the melodrama of a 19th Century Gothic style novel, which I'm not sure if the authors intended or not. They clearly wanted to stress the plight of women of the period, who had very little agency over their own lives, and this is a theme which is repeated throughout.
All in all, an enjoyable, tense plot, with a likeable central female character, exploring the issues faced by women in history who often had very little power over their lives.
If you liked this, you might like The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements.
You can read more about Mitchell & Mitchell here
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