Friday 13 December 2019

#BookReview — Revenge and Retribution (The Graham Saga #6) by Anna Belfrage #HistoricalFiction #TimeTravel @abelfrageauthor

Revenge and Retribution
(The Graham Saga #6)
By Anna Belfrage

Life in the Colony of Maryland is no sinecure - as Alex and Matthew Graham well know. But nothing in their previous life has prepared them for the mayhem that is about to be unleashed upon them. Being labelled a witch is not a good thing in 1684, so it is no wonder Alex Graham is aghast at having such insinuations thrown at her. Even worse, it's Matthew's brother-in-law, Simon Melville, who points finger at her. Not that the ensuing hearing is her main concern, because nowadays Alex's entire life is tainted by the fear of what Philip Burley will do to them once he gets hold of them. On a sunny May afternoon, Philip finally achieves his aim and over the course of the coming days Alex sees her whole life unravelling, leaving her family permanently maimed. As if all this wasn't enough, Alex also has to cope with the loss of one of her sons. Forcibly adopted by the former Susquehannock, Samuel is dragged from Alex's arms to begin a new life in the wilderness. How is Alex to survive all this? And will she be able to put her damaged family back together?

"Go and ask her, ask Alex Graham where those witch things come from..."

Matthew Graham had not expected his brother-in-law to accuse his wife, Alex, of witchcraft. After everything they had been through together, it was nigh on impossible to comprehend such a betrayal. But words, when spoken, cannot be taken back. Alex is forced to come face to face with her past with devastating consequences.

But an accusation of witchcraft is not the only thing the Grahams have to worry about. Philip Burley has been plotting his revenge against Matthew for many years. He is determined to be judge, torturer and executioner. Matthew would know suffering, and he would know pain — the likes of which he had never felt before, and this time there would be no one who would come to his rescue, for Burley, and his gang would make sure of it.

For Matthew and Alex, the year 1684 would leave both physical and mental scars. 1684 would be the year that their lives were changed forever.

Revenge and Retribution (The Graham Saga #6) by Anna Belfrage is utterly enchanting from start to finish. It is a book that will haunt me for a very long time and one that will be impossible for me to forget.

Oh, this book and these characters... I have never read a series that has ensnared my heart like The Graham Saga. It is an elegantly narrated story that captured my imagination from the very beginning, and with each book, there comes a deeper understanding of the lives of this family in an utterly captivating era. This series deserves the highest of acclaim, not only for its historical accuracy and unforgettable characters but also for Belfrage's ability to keep the momentum going. There isn't a dull moment in this series, and there certainly isn't one in this book. Revenge and Retribution has everything a lover of sweeping family sagas set in a bygone era could possibly wish for. It is, in all ways, triumphant. 

As with the previous books, Revenge and Retribution follow the lives of Matthew and Alex Graham. The more I read about these two characters the more I grow to love them. Their trials and heartaches are softened by their undeniable and unstoppable love for each other. Of all the books in this series, this one was without a doubt, the more heart-rendering and shocking. As the title states, this book is about revenge and retribution. It is, at times, incredibly dark, but at the same time, it is also a story of hope and healing. I have never read a book like it. I thought it was absolutely brilliant. Kudos, Ms Belfrage. Kudos, indeed.

We are once again reunited with the beastly Burley brothers. These men are worse than vermin. They are parasites, and a constant threat. They are disgusting and vile and truly terrible. There are not enough adjectives to describe how much I loathe these characters. These despicable antagonists, however, made this book unputdownable. There is one thing you can say about Belfrage — she knows how to cast good villains, which leads me onto another, one that at first glance is the essence of innocence. Lucy Jones was born deaf. Her life is one of silence. And yet, she married well and has three adorable children, but, it isn't enough for her.

Lucy wants her husband to love her and treat her with as much praise and care as her father does. But Henry's womanising ways and his inexplicable fear of his young wife means that he stays away from her bedchamber more often than he should. But Lucy isn't the type of woman who will sit back and allow him to do whatever he wants. She means to make him hers and hers alone. Lucy has a weapon that will ensure that she will be the only woman in his life. This weapon is a painting. This painting is a portal through time. Lucy was a character that made me feel terribly conflicted. I could sympathise with her plight and her frustrations, but at the same time, there is a cruelty to Lucy's personality that made me somewhat fearful of her and for anyone who upset her in any way. She was almost without mercy. Lucy reminded me very much of a very spoilt child, and although she is in a terribly unhappy marriage, and she feels stilted by her disability, I found it very hard to like her. I can understand why her husband is somewhat fearful of her. She is this silent, menacing force of nature — at times, Lucy truly terrified me. I never expected to have such a strong adverse reaction to Lucy — this is a character who was born and grew up within the pages of this series, and I wasn't expecting her to turn out quite the way she did. I thought Belfrage did a marvellous job in her portrayal of Lucy. This was a seemingly innocent secondary character that suddenly has within her grasp the power to destroy the lives of the Grahams inadvertently — as if the Grahams did not have enough to deal with! I thought Lucy was magnificently portrayed and she certainly helped to drive this story forward. 

Belfrage has captured not only the essence of this era, but also the wildness, and the inherent beauty of the Colony of Maryland during this time in American history. There is a richness to the storytelling, an understanding of this era in the elegant prose and vivacious narrative. Revenge and Retribution is the sort of book that, like a magical portal, takes the reader back in time, and you see everything in vivid technicolour. The Graham Saga is in all ways a masterpiece, but this book transcends everything that came before it. I don't think I have ever read a book that has affected me quite so much as Revenge and Retribution. This story is not for the faint-hearted, some of the things that happen are absolutely brutal, and the fact that these terrible, terrible things are happening to characters that over of the course of this series I come to adore made it all the more heartbreakingly tragic. 

The Graham Saga is undoubtedly one of the best series I have ever read. Fans of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander will fall in love with this series and cherish this book.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.

Pick up your copy of
Revenge and Retribution

Anna Belfrage

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.

Find out more about Anna by visiting her website, or herAmazon page.

1 comment:

See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx