A Time for Treason

Written by Anne Newton Walther
Review by Cindy Vallar

After George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River, they fought the British Army using gunpowder obtained from Bermuda, a British colony. How did the patriots acquire the powder? This is the question that Ann Newton Walther seeks to answer in her first novel, A Time for Treason. Countess Eugénie Devereux, under the guise of purchasing race horses, travels to Virginia at the behest of French aristocrats who seek information they can use to persuade France to join with the colonists in their fight against Great Britain. She meets many influential patriots, including Thomas Jefferson, during her stay. She also makes the acquaintance of Bridger Goodrich, whose family is forced to leave their home after they side with the English.

After her contact is brutally murdered and she is forced to reveal the true purpose of her visit, Eugénie flees Virginia aboard Bridger’s ship. On the voyage to Bermuda they fall in love despite their political differences. Colonel Henry Tucker and his family welcome Eugénie into their home. Colonel Tucker and other wealthy men who inhabit the western end of the island grow increasingly concerned with the American embargo against their ships and trade. Tucker devises a treasonous plan to persuade the Americans to continue to trade with Bermuda, and Eugénie soon finds herself embroiled in it.

There are a number of problems that keep this book from being a page-turning adventure. The author tells the story from too many characters’ points of view — six on one page — and has a tendency to step out of Eugénie’s viewpoint and into an omniscient one. Characters constantly mention the threat of danger from various sources, but their fear and apprehension often fail to evoke the reader’s emotions or to come to fruition. Conflicts between the hero and the heroine are too easily resolved. The action scenes are compelling, but they are few and far between. The single eight-page love scene is a dream sequence, and readers may find some of it distasteful. One historical error alludes to Edward Teach (Blackbeard) being responsible for the loss of four ships. The infamous pirate lost his head in 1718, 57 years before A Time for Treason takes place. Those in search of little-known stories of the American Revolution or facts about 18th-century life in Bermuda, though, may enjoy the story.