Monday, March 24, 2014

Serpents in the Garden by Anna Belfrage

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Obtained from: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Read: March 22, 2014

After years of hard work, Matthew and Alex Graham have created a thriving home in the Colony of Maryland. About time, in Alex’s opinion, after far too many adventures she is really looking forward to some well-deserved peace and quiet. A futile hope, as it turns out. Things start to heat up when Jacob, the third Graham son, absconds from his apprenticeship to see the world – especially as Jacob leaves behind a girl whom he has wed in a most irregular fashion. Then there’s the infected matter of the fellow time traveller Alex feels obliged to help – no matter the risk. Worst of all, one day Philip Burley and his brothers resurface after years of absence. As determined as ever to make Matthew pay for every perceived wrong – starting with the death of their youngest brother – the Burleys play out a complicated cat and mouse game, and Alex is thrown back into an existence where her heart is constantly in her mouth, convinced as she is that one day the Burleys will achieve their purpose. Will the Burleys succeed? And if they do, will the Graham family survive the exacted price? Serpents in the Garden is the fifth book in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

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I've been in love with the Graham saga for a few years now, but contrary to what you might think that doesn't actually work in Anna Belfrage's favor. My admiration for her work means I have higher expectations and that I'm less inclined to make allowances as I know what she's capable of. If anything my favor means the pressure is on. 

Serpents in the Garden is book five in the series so it's safe to say the stakes have never been higher and I'm happy to report that once again Belfrage managed to impress. Avoiding familiar patterns and recycled material, she continues the Graham family story with the same originality and spirit that drew me to her books in the first place.

In reading Serpents in the Garden I was struck by Belfrage's ability to maintain tension. After so many installments I was worried I'd get the sense that any particular character was too important to be in real jeopardy, but that didn't happen and I think that sort of vulnerability really makes the book. 

The other thing that stands out, the diversity within Belfrage's cast. There are base similarities, but by and large each character feels like an individual, managing their own struggles in their own way. Alex in particular appeals to me, but I like that as a reader I can get into the head of each character - protagonist and antagonist alike - and understand their view of the world.  

Another wonderful read, I can't wait to see where Belfrage takes the Grahams next!

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Matthew cradled her to him and kissed the top of her head. "I dont think I want to live without you," he said out loud, his cheeks heating. "I don't think I could."
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Check out all the stops on Anna Belfrage's Serpents in the Garden Virtual Book Tour

Monday, March 24
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, March 25
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, March 26
Review at Just One More Chapter
Thursday, March 27
Excerpt & Giveaway at Just One More Chapter
Friday, March 28
Interview at Mina’s Bookshelf
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Monday, March 31
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Spotlight & Excerpt at bookworm2bookworm’s Blog
Tuesday, April 1
Guest Post at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, April 2
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, April 3
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Friday, April 4
Review at Dianne Ascroft
Guest Post at So Many Books, So Little Time
Monday, April 7
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Tuesday, April 8
Review & Giveaway at The Most Happy Reader
Interview at Historical Fiction Connection
Wednesday, April 9
Review & Giveaway at A Chick Who Reads
Guest Post & Giveaway at MK McClintock Blog
Thursday, April 10
Review & Guest Post at Kincavel Korner
Friday, April 11
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks


westmetromommy said...

I just realized I have the first book in this series on my kindle! I should get to that soon(ish) and work my way up to this book!

Anonymous said...

A wonderful review that left me tingling all other and wanting to read the book myself (I never quite dare to do so the first few months after release) Thank you!