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Camp Follower
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  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 mistress.

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.

American Revolution Series
Paper Woman, 1
The Blacksmith’s Daughter, 2
Camp Follower, 3

The Book

Whittler’s Bench Press / A Dream Tree Books Imprint
October 1, 2008
Trade Paperback
0978526546 / 978-0978526542
Historical Mystery/ 1780 South Carolina Revolutionary War time
More at
NOTE:Nominated for the Daphne du Maurier and Sir Walter Raleigh Awards

The Reviewer

Claudia Turner VanLydegraf
Reviewed 2008
© 2008