Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Puritan
Mercia Blakewood – Book II
David Hingley

Allison and Busby
19 January 2017/ ISBN 9780749020286
General Fiction/Historical

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde

 

Following her adventures in the first book Birthright (also reviewed on this site) Mercia has left New York and the Royalists and is staying in rural Connecticut with the governor. Not long after arriving she meets local medicine woman Clemency Carter and the two instantly become friends. Mercia is keen to see the town of Meltwater where her new friend lives, but the seemingly tranquil place is soon the setting for more than one murder.

I was impressed by the first book in the series and was keen to read more of Mercia’s exploits. Whereas Birthright would be filed under general historical novels in a store or library, the sequel, as it says on the cover, is historical crime. There are murders and puzzles for Mercia and her friends to solve and this is the main focus of the book. Meltwater comes alive as the setting to all this, a place where Puritan settlers are trying to make a new life for themselves away from religious intolerance. But they have New York and the Duke’s men on one side, and rocky relationships with the local Native Americans on the other. Several men wanted for their part in Charles I’s execution hide out in the woods, and some old sins cast long shadows. Ultimately the message is surely that however beautiful and unspoiled the place, there is no way to escape from the vicissitudes of human nature. Mercia doggedly pursues her investigations, very much a woman in a man’s world and a stranger as well, and makes for a strong and lively protagonist. This is a very long book and could certainly stand some editing; the linear series of murders alone do not fill it and the slow pace tends to make it all lose momentum. I don’t think this is the last we will see of Mercia and her friends, and it will be interesting to see what type of story they are in next.


Reviewed 2017
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