A Newfound Land
(The Graham Saga, Book 4)
By Anna Belfrage
It’s 1672, and Matthew Graham and his family have left Scotland. Having taken the drastic decision to leave their homeland due to religious conflicts, Alexandra and Matthew hope for a simpler, if harsher, life in the wilds of the Colony of Maryland.
Unfortunately, things don’t always turn out as you want them to, and the past has a nasty tendency to resurface at the most inappropriate moments. Both Matthew and Alex are forced to cope with the unexpected reappearance of people they had never thought to meet again, and the screw is turned that much tighter when the four rogue Burley brothers enter their lives.
Matters are further complicated by the strained relations between colonists and the Susquehannock Indians. When Matthew intercedes to stop the Burleys from abducting Indian women into slavery he makes lifelong – and deadly – enemies of them all.
Once again Alex is plunged into an existence where death seems to threaten her man wherever he goes.
Will Matthew see himself – and his family – safe in these new circumstances? And will the past finally be laid to rest?
"I sit here at times and remember the life that was. Before..." His low voice cut through the silence.
"Before we came," she filled in...
Scotland was no longer Matthew Graham's home. Forced to flee because of a wave of unparalleled persecution, Matthew has sailed with his family across the Atlantic Ocean, hoping for a new life with new opportunities in the Colony of Maryland.
But this is a harsh land, a wild one. It is nothing like Scotland. However, Matthew and his wife, Alex, are determined to prosper. And although life is vastly different from the one they left behind, at least here they are safe from religious persecution. Although that is not true for everyone. The land that they farm once belonged to the Susquehannock people, and although Matthew and Alex have good relations with the Indians, others do not.
To make matters worse, ghosts from both Matthew's and Alex's past threaten to destroy the new life that they have worked so hard to create. And with a war with the Indians becoming more and more probable, it seems that only time will tell who will be the losers and who will write the history...
Anna Belfrage continues to surprise me. When I don't think her writing can get any better, Belfrage pulls another mesmerising story out of the hat. A Newfound Land (The Graham Saga, Book 4) is another enthralling story in The Graham Saga series.
I love these characters so much, and once again, Alex and Matthew find themselves in the thick of things. They try so desperately to get on with their lives and live it peacefully, but life keeps getting in the way. Old enemies threaten their lives and their sense of security. Matthew is drawn into a war which he doesn't agree with. And Alex, well... She wants to live her life surrounded by her children and the man she loves, but Alex is no push-over, and she will stand her ground if anyone threatens what is hers, and she does not care who it is, be it a vile slave trader or a conceited minister. If they dare to cross her, then she will give them a piece of her mind!
We are reintroduced to Magnus in this book. Magnus is Alex's father and comes from the modern-day. He is a very ill man and has not long to live, and he wants to see Alex one more time before he dies. Magnus' reunion with Alex is very bittersweet and very emotional. I adored Magnus, more so in this book than the others. Like Alex, Magnus is a product of his times, and he is not adverse to speaking his mind. However, he is like a fish out of water, and he knows it. The 17th century is so vastly different compared to his time. He initially views his daughter's marriage as one being subservient. He cannot understand why Alex would want to stay in a time where women were considered less than a man and had no say in anything. I thought Magnus' take on the 17th century was very telling, and although the idea that travelling back in time has become romanticised in recent fiction, Belfrage shows that actually, it isn't an era that screams romance. Yes, The Graham Saga is above all things a love story, but it is also brutally realistic in its depiction of the 17th century. Magnus has forsaken modern medicine, modern conveniences for a world that is alien to him. I thought his portrayal was fabulous.
A Newfound Land explores what life was like for not only the colonists but also the indigenous people whose lives were so brutally destroyed by those who promised treaties of peace but delivered disease, devastation and death. I thought Belfrage's portrayal of the Susquehannock tribe was fabulous. Belfrage has described their insufferable plight with sensitivity and care, and although their story is a secondary plot, I thought it was masterfully portrayed.
There are several terrible antagonists in this tale, one of which we met in Book 2, and I had hoped never to meet again. Dominic Jones is as vile in this book as he was in Like Chaff in the Wind (The Graham Saga Book 2). His hatred for Matthew is born of fear, for Matthew knows the truth of his character. Jones is a worthy adversary to put against Matthew. Matthew is no saint, but he isn't intentionally cruel, whereas Jones is. Jones pretends to be a man of standing and wealth, but underneath it all, he is just a brutal murderer and desperate man who cares nothing for anyone but himself.
Having read the first four books in The Graham Saga, it is very clear that this series is staggeringly ambitious in the telling. To keep such momentum going can only be achieved by a writer who not only documents the recorded history with scrupulous care but one who can give fictional characters a sense of realism. Belfrage is that writer. I haven't enjoyed a time-slip book so much since Diana Gabaldon's fabulous Outlander series.
A Newfound Land (The Graham Saga, Book 4) stands very firmly on its own feet. So if you so desired, you can jump right in at Book 4 and not feel lost as to what was going on. However, I recommend you start with Book 1 just because it is brilliant!
I Highly Recommend.
Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.
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A Newfound Land
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.