The Blacksmith’s Daughter
Betsy Sheridan is struggling to maintain her neutrality in a very dangerous Southland of 1780. She discovers that her husband is a spy for the patriot cause, and also her father’s real identity. He and her mother are in hiding with Indians in South Carolina. Betsy decides to find the fugitives even while pregnant with her first child and being pursued by the nefarious British lieutenant Dunstan Fairfax.
The body count mounts as lying and brutality on all sides cut a swath through the Southern frontier. The story ends at the Battle of Camden and its aftermath, where mother and daughter are finally reunited.
The tone of The Blacksmith’s Daughter jumps from serious to tongue-in-cheek, from ribald to gothic, unfortunate distractions from the story. The heroine and her “pregnant nose” and “flip-flopping” stomach endure more perils than Pauline. She entangles herself in her own lies and engages in wild speculation that makes her seem more silly than smart. Add wooden supporting characters and anachronisms like “strip-searched” and “I see how this has stressed you,” and this novel may be an exasperating reading experience.