Written by Mary Ellen Barnes
Review by Cynthia McArthur

Peregrine is the story of Frances Latham, who was the eldest child of King Charles I’s falconer. She grows up watching falcons, their freedom and beauty, and though her father doesn’t allow her to raise or train them, her uncle does. When her father finds out, he vows to keep her on a short leash, but eventually he allows her a season in London, where she meets the handsome Will; after her father’s refusal of her hand, they elope.

Though Frances is estranged from her father, she and Will live happily in London with their growing family until the plague, when Will tragically dies and leaves Frances alone with no choice but to return home with her family. After a while she remarries, and she, her husband, and her once again growing family make the grueling and dangerous voyage to the colonies in America. There Frances’s family becomes an integral part of society. Throughout her long life she encounters both hardships and happiness and leaves a lasting legacy in her 11 children. Frances never loses her love for the freedom of falconry and in the colonies, finds a measure of freedom for herself.

Frances was an amazing woman, and this story illustrates the trials of not only colonial life for a woman but for the budding society of the colonies in general. In a time when Puritanism and witchcraft filled people’s heads, Frances kept her feet firmly on the ground.  The facts are finely researched, and the storytelling is steady, perhaps at times a little slow, but very thorough. It was clear that the author enjoyed researching and writing Frances’s story. As the majority of this novel takes place in the colonies, I would recommend this book especially to people interested in the American colonial period.