Muskets and Minuets

Written by Lindsey Fera
Review by J. Lynn Else

Annalisa Howlett has been learning to shoot a fowling from her brother George since she was 13 years old. She enjoys discussing politics, a topic about which her sex shouldn’t speak. Her focus should be the loom and minuets if she hopes to marry well. Annalisa could care less about marriage… until she meets the handsome Jack Perkins. Four years later, in 1775, she secretly joins the militia disguised as a boy while things are heating up within the colonies. In disguise, her voice is finally heard. However, Annalisa’s and Jack’s feelings toward one another have grown. Unfortunately, Jack is expected to marry whom his family deems fit if he intends to keep his inheritance, and that woman is Annalisa’s sister. After bragging to Annalisa about the upcoming engagement, Annalisa runs off to join the minutemen marching towards Bunker Hill. In the thick of battle, Jack hunts for Annalisa in hopes of announcing his intentions to marry her before it’s too late.

As if intended for a different print size, the book suffers from formatting errors. Many words run into one another, and paragraph indents aren’t always spaced the same on pages. Additionally, there are two pages numbered 182, one which has two words but is otherwise blank. However, Fera’s breadth of research overshadows this. The manner of speech and slang create an immersive narrative that sucks readers in (there’s a glossary in the back too!). Other tidbits of knowledge include loading a fowler, social customs, and character participation in decisive moments leading to the Revolutionary War. Family drama abounds, which impacts the story in deeply emotional ways. A thrilling story of romance, 18th-century society life, and rebellion.