When American colonists resort to war against Britain and her colonial attitudes, a young couple caught in the crossfire must find a way to survive. Pioneers in the wilds of New York State, John and Lucy face a bitter separation and the fear of losing everything, even their lives, when he joins Butler’s Rangers to fight for the King and leaves her to care for their isolated farm. As the war in the Americas ramps up, ruffians roam the colonies looking to snap up Loyalist land. Alone, pregnant, and fearing John is dead, Lucy must fight with every weapon she has.
With vivid scenes of desperation, heroism, and personal angst, Elaine Cougler takes us back to the beginnings of one great country and the planting of Loyalist seeds for another. The Loyalist’s Wife transcends the fighting between nations to show us the individual cost of such battles.
I admit that the fact that I wanted to read this book made me finally buy a kindle! I know! Me! I think that deserves another post on its own quite frankly but for now, this is what I wanted to say about my first Kindle read!
I finished the The Loyalist’s Wife at the weekend. I can honestly say that I understand a lot about this period of war that I had never really thought about before. Some parts were gruesome, some were uplifting, whilst all were realistic and put me right at the heart of the people living their day to day lives in such turbulent times.
It was a particularly interesting read as I had only come across a little of this history before, years ago when I was travelling in Niagara on the Lake in Ontario, Canada and discovered Butler’s Burying Ground and the vault where the famous Colonel John Butler was buried. I spent a little time then reading about the history but found the books at the time hard to read and inaccessible. How I wish The Loyalist’s Wife had been written then!
The book moves from two places of action – the home where Lucy, the Loyalist’s Wife of the book, is left behind to have and look after the baby whilst her husband goes to fight. This was an interesting way to split the action as just as a cliff hanger came about Lucy I was thinking NO! but then was immediately thrown into the action John now found himself in. The struggles of both (Lucy protecting her home and her baby and John on the road with his men) are as difficult as each other. We get not only the husband’s point of view as being at the heart of the action but that of the wife. I would argue that it is the wife’s story that shines through for me as she had the anguish of giving birth, caring for the baby and also worrying about John. She also suffers a tragedy involving her father but I won’t give any plot away.
This book may have the colonial wars and struggles as the backdrop and I found it exciting to ‘be right there at the heart of the action’, but it was the people and the human side of the story which was brought out so strongly and passionately in Elaine’s book.
And it is certainly a book built with passion and feeling. I can only imagine the challenge of the research involved due to the detail involved.
Even though the story is a hard one to read at times, I felt such sadness and concern, especially for Lucy. When you realise Lucy and indeed her husband John are just one couple caught up in the historical battles, it brings home to you the raw honesty this book represents and the wide reaching effects of years of fighting and the human reality of just getting through every day.
Fair to say that going to Niagara on the Lake started a little seed of interest that brought me to this book and now I can say I understand what I saw all those years ago. This is the real story of the fighting and the battles of that time. While I might not understand all the politics, I understood the raw anguish and emotions of the people caught up in it all. And my heart went out to them.
Writing that produces raw emotions is definitely a story worth reading.
And I’m so excited that today! this very day that I am putting up the review of the book, what should land on my doormat but a signed hard copy of the book itself! Thanks Elaine! All the way from sunny Canada. I will treasure this and also reread it of course since although I now love my kindle, I have the proper book now!