The Turning of Anne Merrick
This sequel to The Tory Widow takes place in 1777. Widow Anne Merrick has infiltrated General Burgoyne’s British army as a peddler selling writing supplies during the Revolutionary War. She gleans information through “friendly” conversations with the officers and their wives, which includes a flirtation with a handsome British captain. Through secretive actions, she sends the details of troop movements to her lover, Jack Hampton, a scout for General Washington. Jack keeps an eye on her while performing as a sharpshooter during the battles.
After the battle of Saratoga, Anne escapes the British and rejoins Jack during the freezing winter at Valley Forge. Soon General Washington recruits Anne to set up a coffee shop in Philadelphia to continue her intelligence gathering. Anne is confronted by a man from her past she thought dead, who captures her to have her executed for treason.
The setting feels authentic, and the drama and action compels you to turn the pages. Having not read the first book, I wanted to know more about these characters and their motivations. Jack, Anne, and their close friends often behave like teenagers on a romp rather than persecuted patriots involved in a serious war. Jack especially seems immature and indiscreet when it comes to his relationship with Anne. His insistence on being intimate with her in the midst of her spying puts their lives in too much peril.
Blevins’s research is impeccable, and the details of everyday life in this time period are masterful. The last scene sets up what must be a third book in the story.