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The Traitor's Wife: A Novel Paperback – Bargain Price, September 26, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 98 customer reviews

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Amazon.com Review

This novel was originally published under the title The Wolves of Andover.

In the harsh wilderness of colonial Massachusetts, Martha Allen works as a servant in her cousin's household, taking charge and locking wills with everyone. Thomas Carrier labors for the family and is known both for his immense strength and size and his mysterious past. The two begin a courtship that suits their independent natures, with Thomas slowly revealing the story of the role he played in the English Civil War. But in the rugged new world they inhabit, danger is ever present, whether it be from the assassins sent from London to kill the executioner of Charles I or the wolves-in many forms-who hunt for blood. At once a love story and a tale of courage, The Traitor's Wife confirms Kathleen Kent's ability to craft powerful stories from the dramatic background of America's earliest days.

From Publishers Weekly

Kent doesn't disappoint in this prequel to The Heretic's Daughter, taking readers back to Massachusetts before the Salem witch trials as strong-willed 23-year-old Martha Allen falls in love with strong-armed hired hand Thomas Carrier. Rumor has it that Thomas, while living in England under another name, played a role in the execution of King Charles I. Now both he and Martha work for Martha's cousin on her farm and are brought together with a little help from the wolves stalking the farm. But after Thomas saves Martha from a wolf attack, he discovers wild animals are not the only dangers lurking in the Massachusetts woods: assassins have arrived from London to capture Charles I's executioner, said to be living outside Boston under an assumed name. Kent weaves in references to her first novel while creating an immersive stand-alone where Old World corruption clashes with New World opportunity; London bustles as civilization is carved out of the Massachusetts wilderness; and colonial self-reliance contrasts with dealing for favors in Restoration England. Kent brings colonial America to life by poking into its dark corners and finding its emotional and personal underpinnings. (Nov.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Reagan Arthur / Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (September 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316068640
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,678,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
While I haven't read Kathleen Kent's previous books (that apparently give the ending to the story of The Traitor's Wife), I was intrigued enough to pick this one up and give it a shot. To give you an example of how much I loved this book, I've now purchased Kent's other book.

The Traitor's Wife was originally published under the name The Wolves of Andover - and in a way, I wish that title had stuck. I picked up this book thinking that the title would make sense, and.. while it does in a very subtle way, I just think it gives the wrong impression.

This is the prelude to Kent's The Heretic's Daughter. It explores the relationship between Martha Allen and Thomas Carrier and I loved every single sentence of the book. I was completely immersed in history, surrounded by lush descriptions and found the heroine to be strong, stubborn and strong-willed without having any of the cloying, disgusting whimpering that historical heroines in these types of books can often end up having.

The love story between Martha and Thomas was so realistic as well. Not always is love all titters and secretive looks and sneaking out into the barn, it's also harsh, it has to be worked at, and there has to be mutual respect between the two people. Although there was not a whole lot of affection shown, I never once doubted that these two were in love with each other and that the marriage would work. A strong relationship like that speaks well for both the characters and the author who puts them to paper.

Kathleen Kent has a prominent place in my "authors to watch for" list. A good historical fiction writer, especially one writing about the early days of America, is not easy to come by but Kent has knocked it out of the ballpark with The Traitor's Wife. Put this one on your list to read.
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Format: Paperback
Martha Allen is 22 and well past the age when her family started to think of marriage for her. But her hard disposition has attracted no man who would marry her, and so she is sent to live with her cousin Patience and help with the household while Patience goes through a difficult pregnancy.

Lie is hard in rural Massachusetts during the late 1600s, and Martha is a big help. She finds herself attracted to Thomas, an indentured man who helps to run the farm. There are whisperings that Thomas has a secret to hide, that he was somehow involved in Cromwell's execution of England's king years before. Whatever happened in his past, it now threatens to shatter the peaceful existence that has settled over the household.

The Traitor's Wife by Kathleen Kent tells the beginning of the story of Martha Allen and Thomas Carrier, the parents of Sarah Carrier in The Heretic's Daughter. In this prequel, Kent once again brings this time in the early years of the Massachusetts's colony alive. There were fears of violent natives on the prowl, the plague, and mischief-makers from England. This new frontier was a hard place to live, and despite the separation of colonists they depending on each other to stay alive.

In The Heretic's Daughter, Sarah struggles to understand her mother and the hard exterior she shows to the world. Here, Martha is revealed as someone who has a backbone of steel, but it's a rigidness born of necessity as much as personality. The same goes for Thomas, who is reluctant to involve anyone else in protecting him from his past, but is eager to begin anew in this raw country.

Through Kent's research and masterful storytelling, she has created another fascinating tale that draws on family stories of her very real ancestors. I recommend The Traitor's Wife for anyone who loves historical fiction.
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Format: Hardcover
"The life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."
Thomas Hobbes, The Leviathan
English political philosopher (1588-1679)

Life in 1673 Massachusetts lived up to Hobbes' expectations. In THE WOLVES OF ANDOVER, Kathleen Kent offers a realistic depiction of survival through the eyes of colonial woman, Martha Allen. With a sharp eye for detail, Kent does not shy away from historical accuracy in order to create a romance full of beauty and lightness. Instead, she depicts rustic settlers living in primitive conditions in close proximity to livestock. Many are hanging on by a thread against Indian attack, disease and poverty.

Martha's strength is that she rises to meet these challenges. Having reached the age of 20 without a husband, her father can no longer afford to care for her. Martha is sent to live with her cousin, Patience and her family as a servant. Patience is suffering through a difficult pregnancy and requires help around the house. Martha takes on the role of housekeeper caring for Patience's children, Will and Joanna; her husband, Daniel and their indentured servants, John and Thomas.

When a pack of wolves starts terrorizing the countryside, Martha forges a bond with Thomas despite his being 30 years her senior. While attempting to ensnare the lupines, his quiet, steady demeanor captures the interest of the sharp-tongued girl. While strong and physically fit, Thomas' fate lies in the hands of Patience and Daniel. His hope rests on their granting him a parcel of land upon completion of his servitude. Martha's future too is uncertain once Patience is delivered of child.

Yet affairs of the heart come second to survival in this inhospitable environment. The yard is full of mud from freezing rain.
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