American Revolution Mystery, No 3
by Suzanne Adair
Suzanne Adair is a Revolutionary War re-enactor in her off time, so she has
written a most wonderful book about something she has studied and
researched, both for pure pleasure and for working knowledge. This
is the third book about the Revolutionary War she has given us and
it offers something for every facet of our society in this day and
age to learn from. The other two are Paper Woman and The
Blacksmith’s Daughter, both of which I have had the pleasure of
reading and reviewing for MyShelf.com. I guess you might call me
a bit infatuated with Ms. Adair’s books, because I have asked for
and gotten all of them.
Adair is a great writer and her depiction of the times is spot on accurate, as far as I can tell. She paints a
vivid, fully detailed account, along with a very honest assessment of how really hard it was for this country to
gain its freedom from England. Most of the difficulty was caused by the fact there were three divided factions who
had to all decide what they really wanted. Most of them didn’t want that freedom at the time. Many of the countrymen
and countrywomen had very different needs and ideas about the ways they should go about living, whether under King
George or under the new fledgling government which was yet to rise and show the way forward.
Some of the communities, such as Wilmington, North Carolina, had newspapers and publishers who spread the word
about how the war was going and what was happening to whom. Helen Chiswell was a writer for a journal called
Badley's Review, and this is her story about being a Camp Follower.
This particular story is centered in the Southern part of North Carolina and much of South Carolina, and involves
Helen’s trip through South Carolina with the troops assigned to Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton and Lt. Dunstan Fairfax,
whom you might remember from Paper Woman and The Blacksmith’s Daughter.
Sophie Barton is a very close friend of Helen Chiswell’s and Sophie’s father publishes a newspaper in Georgia
during this period. Currently, Sophie is in hiding with the Creek Indians and Lt. Dunstan Fairfax is trying very
hard to find her. In the midst of seemingly trying to locate Sophie, he comes across a person of interest, named
David St. James, who is actually Sophie's brother and whom Fairfax is after in a not so friendly way. Helen is David's
Camp Follower is a tale of defiance, overcoming adversity and horror, as well as threats to identity.
Several people are trying to take advantage of Helen Chiswell for all the wrong reasons. Her ability to put it all
together and figure out the complex strategies that went into putting her in this very dangerous position within Lt
Tarleton's camp is just part of what she must deal with to get back to Wilmington and save her home. That home was
supposed to have been saved by her "mentor," Mr. Badley, whose mission instead has been to put her into mortal
danger just to get a story for his journal. Lt. Fairfax is a very cunning opponent. His recognizing in her an
amazingly willful woman is his pleasure and displeasure all at the same time.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a telling story, full of
tension, intrigue, mystery and Helen's very long journey to understand
herself - all while trying to survive the perils she has gotten
herself into, so she can find her true place in this new world.
Read this book; you will love it and find yourself totally immersed
in that period and place. You will think you are right there on
that trail along with those fighting in the Revolutionary War.
Blacksmith’s Daughter, 2
Bench Press / A Dream Tree Books Imprint
Mystery/ 1780 South Carolina Revolutionary War time
for the Daphne du Maurier and Sir Walter Raleigh Awards