The Printer and The Strumpet (The Misadventures of Leeds Merriweather Book 2)

Written by Larry Brill
Review by Anna Belfrage

It’s 1773, and tensions are swelling in Boston, Massachusetts. On the one side, the Sons of Liberty are becoming increasingly vociferous, demanding rights to representation; on the other, the Loyalists are prepared to do whatever it takes to crush these dangerous potential traitors. For Leeds Merriweather, exiled Englishman and newspaper owner, life has become a balancing act, one in which he attempts to represent the voice of reason because surely no one wants outright war. Or?

But when the governor and his cronies start blackmailing Leeds into publishing their version of the news—alternate facts, as they call them—our hero suddenly discovers the American within. Helped by brothel madam Sally Hughes, a lady of burning conviction with an efficient information network, Leeds Merriweather sets out to tell things as they are despite moments of paralysing fear. After all, what won’t a man do to impress the woman who, with a couple of fainting spells, has stolen his heart?

The Printer and the Strumpet is an engaging read. It bubbles and fizzes with joie de vivre, this despite the excellent descriptions of increasing political tensions that eventually explode into violence. Has Mr. Brill done his research? Indubitably. More importantly, he breathes life into the historical people that prance across his pages. Well, they don’t all prance: General Gage is too heavy-footed for that. Mr. Brill’s prose is fresh and vibrant and, at times, a tad too modern, but this enhances the read, delivering dialogue that sparkles with wit. Yes, now and then I spot an anachronism, but the pace, the energy, and the vivid characters more than compensate for this.

I close The Printer and the Strumpet with a new favourite expletive (“flog the frog”) and a new favourite acronym, WWBFD: What Would Benjamin Franklin Do. Warmly recommended!