Like Chaff in the Wind
(The Graham Saga Book #2)
By Anna Belfrage
Matthew Graham committed the mistake of his life when he cut off his brother's nose. In revenge, Luke Graham has Matthew abducted and transported to the colony of Virginia to be sold as indentured labour. Matthew arrives in Virginia in May 1661 and any hope he had of finding someone willing to listen to his story of unlawful abduction is quickly extinguished. If anything, Matthew's insistence that he is an innocent man leads him to being singled out for the heaviest tasks. Insufficient food, gruelling days and the humid heat combine to wear him down. With a sinking feeling, he realises no one has ever survived their seven years of service on the plantation Suffolk Rose. Fortunately for Matthew, he has a remarkable wife. Alex Graham has no intention of letting her husband suffer and die. So she sets off from Scotland on a perilous journey to bring her husband home. Alex is plagued by nightmares in which Matthew is reduced to a wheezing wreck by his tormentors. Sailing to Virginia, she prays for a miracle to carry her swiftly to his side. But fate has other plans, and what should have been a two month crossing turns into a year long adventure - from one side of the Atlantic to the other. Will Alex find Matthew in time? Will she be able to pay the price of setting him free? Like Chaff in the Wind continues on from The Rip in the Veil, taking Alex and Matthew's love story to a new continent.
“This was the work of his hell-spawn of a brother and now, oh dearest Lord, now there was no one there to protect his wife and son...”
Matthew Graham took his brother’s nose. He should have taken his life. Luke will not stop until Matthew is dead, and all that belongs to Matthew is his. Once again, Matthew finds himself in chains because of his brother, only this time it was going to be worse for his destination was Virginia. His brother had known, by God, he had known, that no one survived seven years of indentured servitude at the Suffolk Rose Plantation, but what Luke had not countered on was that Matthew had a reason to live. Matthew would be damned if he died in a foreign country away from all of those he loved.
But even the most courageous of hearts can be broken — just as a body can be broken. With a crushed spirit, Matthew’s only hope is that his hot-headed wife will try to rescue him. Unfortunately, Alexandra is back in Scotland and has no idea what has happened to him.
Alexandra (Alex) Graham had not travelled through time and sacrificed everything familiar, including her son, to become a widow. She will find her beloved Matthew. All he has to do is stay alive.
From a dreary icy January in Edinburgh to the relentless heat of a Virginia summer, Like Chaff in the Wind (The Graham Saga Book #2) by Anna Belfrage is the compelling adventure of one woman’s fight to free her man and bring him home.
Like Chaff in the Wind had me gripped from the opening sentence to the very last full stop. Belfrage writes not only with tremendous verse but also with a keen eye for what is entertaining. There was not a dull moment in this book. The action kept on coming, and this kept those pages turning long into the night.
Belfrage deserves the highest of praise for her mesmerising narrative and her authentic historical detailing. Belfrage tackles the somewhat controversial issue of what it was like to be an indentured servant in the 17th century. Often overshadowed by the horrors of the African Slave Trade, an indentured servant was often involuntarily forced to provide free labour for a fixed amount of time. However, for most indentured servants, it was a life sentence. If they survive the crossing, they then had to acclimatise to a very foreign climate. They also had to contend with tropical diseases, and on top of all of this, they had to perform back-breaking work on very little nourishment. The colour of their skin did not make them exempt from cruel floggings. Belfrage has painted a harrowing picture of what life was like for an indentured servant in the 17th century. The authenticity of Matthew’s plight was so real it was almost tangible. Belfrage has obviously spent long hours researching the conditions that the indentured servants were forced to live in as well as what was expected of them. The plantation owners thought nothing of working them to death. Belfrage demonstrated this total lack of humanity through Matthew’s situation. As a reader, I wept for him.
Alexandra is in a time that is so very different from the era she was born in. The 17th century is a difficult place to navigate for a very modern woman. Nevertheless, Alex does whatever it takes to find her man and bring him home. Belfrage has given us a very strong and incredibly brave heroine in Alex. Alex’s tenacity and her sharp wit made this story totally irresistible and next to impossible to put down. There were times when Alex’s recklessness and total disregard for the time she was in made for some cliff-hanging, fingernail biting tension, but this all added to the appeal of this book.
Belfrage balances the two very different time frames — the 17th century and 21st century — with a great deal of skill and diligence. By showing what Alex’s family was experiencing in the 21st century gave this story not only depth but brilliance. Alex has left a seven-year-old son behind, and it was his story that really pulled at my heartstrings.
Like Chaff in the Wind is a real treat for lovers of time-travel fiction. I cannot wait to get my hands on book #3 of this fabulously enthralling series.
I Highly Recommend.
Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.
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Like Chaff in the Wind
Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England. She has recently released the first in a new series, The Wanderer. This time, she steps out of her normal historical context and A Torch in His Heart is with a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense with paranormal and time-slip ingredients.