Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Loyalist's Wife by Elaine Cougler

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Read: October 9, 2013

When American colonists resort to war against Britain and her colonial attitudes, a young couple caught in the crossfire must find a way to survive. Pioneers in the wilds of New York State, John and Lucy face a bitter separation and the fear of losing everything, even their lives, when he joins Butler's Rangers to fight for the King and leaves her to care for their isolated farm. As the war in the Americas ramps up, ruffians roam the colonies looking to snap up Loyalist land. Alone, pregnant, and fearing John is dead, Lucy must fight with every weapon she has. With vivid scenes of desperation, heroism, and personal angst, Elaine Cougler takes us back to the beginnings of one great country and the planting of Loyalist seeds for another. The Loyalist's Wife transcends the fighting between nations to show us the individual cost of such battles.

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Loyalist lit has never been particularly prevalent, but it isn't exactly unheard of. The Tory Widow by Christine Blevins, The Traitor's Wife by Allison Pataki, Sarah Bishop by Scott O'Dell and The King's Rangers by John Brick jump immediately to mind, but I'm sure there are others on the market. Thing is, all of these books were written by Americans which makes Canadian Elaine Cougler's The Loyalist's Wife something of a novelty. 

Now in theory it shouldn't matter, but I think Cougler's background gives her an advantage here she has a slightly different view of the American Revolution and didn't feel a need to conform on any level with the rampant glorification we so often see here in the states. As a result, her work incorporates a noticeable degree of objectivity and though I feel the author sort of pigeonholed her characters as either good guys or bad, I found her larger scope refreshingly fascinating. 

Another thing I liked about this piece was how Cougler treated Lucy's character. Alone in the wilderness, this woman has to keep herself and her farm going, a task that requires both physical and mental tenacity, fortitude and endurance. Thing is, unlike a lot of heroines, Lucy doesn't just barrel in and kick proverbial butt and I like that. She has days that are harder than others, days marked by success and days marked by failure, and yet she soldiers on. It isn't the gung-ho perception of feminine strength that has become so popular of late, but it is no less significant and I applaud Cougler's recognition of that.

Is the book flawless? No. There were several sections were the plot felt slightly forced and I think there is definite room for increased complexity, but by and large I liked what Cougler put together here. I enjoy books that make you think about events you think you know in different ways and in that Cougler's work is certainly success. 

An intriguing and authentic fiction, The Loyalist's Wife paints a vivid portrait of what life might have been for those on the other side of the conflict, the ones who risked and lost all over their enduring faithfulness to the English crown. 

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On the cot she sat and held her son, rocking him back and forth. The hot tears started again. This time they wouldn't stop. Her mind swan with images of what she had lost, the farm, their animals, the lovely little cabin with its stove and its table - John's rocking chair - and her mother's patchwork quilt. Each new thought brought fresh tears and deep sobs. She cried for the couple she and John had been in their wedding engraving, but were no more. 
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Check out all the stops on Elaine Cougler's The Loyalist's Wife Virtual Book Tour

Monday, October 7
Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, October 8
Review at West Metro Mommy
Wednesday, October 9
Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Thursday, October 10
Review at Unabridged Chick
Review & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Friday, October 11
Review & Giveaway at Kinx’s Book Nook
Monday, October 14
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Tuesday, October 15
Review at A Bookish Affair
Guest Post at Book Lovers Paradise
Thursday, October 17
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Friday, October 18
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Monday, October 21
Review & Giveaway at Confessions of an Avid Reader

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