The Traitor’s Wife: My Thoughts

This book is so good! I love Kathleen Kent’s writing. She is a great storyteller who brings her characters so richly to life and always seems to make me want to learn something new. I am also glad to have come know this woman, Martha Carrier and her husband, Thomas, a little more through this novel.

This book tells the story of Martha Allen and Thomas Carrier and gives us a glimpse into Thomas’s history as a soldier in the English Civil War.

The novel alternates narratives between Thomas and Martha in New England and a group of assassins back in England. These assassins are sent to bring back the ‘traitor’, the one who beheaded King Charles I, for punishment and execution. Now, I typically enjoy dual narratives, but in this case, with this book, the story of the assassins didn’t interest me that much. Their violent world of dog fighting, torture and betrayal just wasn’t as interesting as Thomas and Martha’s story. I found myself reading their chapters quickly so I could get back to New England and find out what was happening with Thomas and Martha. I would have preferred for the second narrative to focus more on Cromwell and the war but I realize that, with this storyline, Kent was illustrating the fact that spy rings were an active and dangerous presence at that time.

Now, Kent does tell us about Cromwell and the war as part of Thomas’s history, I only wished for more of this story. In my opinion, these were the best sections in the novel. Kent, as usual, is descriptive and evocative and brings this chapter of history to life. She whet my appetite to learn more about Oliver Cromwell and the English Civil War. However, what I read made me really dislike Cromwell, but I still want to know more about him.

It was also interesting to see how women helped each other and called on each other during difficult times like the birth of a baby or, sadly, the death of one. I was surprised by the lack adequate medical care, but it served as a reminder that at this time in history sickness and death were an all too frequent an occurrence.

I really enjoyed this story. It was an interesting read that definitely made me want to learn more about Oliver Cromwell. Kathleen Kent’s books seem to have this effect on me: they leave me thirsting to learn more about history. But then again, isn’t good historical fiction supposed to do just this thing?

How about you? Have you read this book or any of Kathleen Kent’s books? Do you have a favorite? If so, tell me in the comments below.

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6 thoughts on “The Traitor’s Wife: My Thoughts

  1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this book! I’ve read The Traitor’s Wife and, like you, I enjoyed it immensely. The parts with Martha were my favorites, but it seems as if I found the spy sections more interesting than you did. Kent did such a good job of dramatizing the difficulties of leaving behind a dangerous past, I think. Perils surround these characters even in their seemingly simple lives. Kent paints a fascinating picture of the period.

    The Heretic’s Daughter is on my TBR list. I hope to bump it to the top of the list once I get caught up on my other projects.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, the spy sections do portray, and very well, the dangers that surround these characters. They had to always be on the alert. I just found myself drawn to the other storyline more. And I liked the sections with Martha too, but when Thomas started to share his story and past with her, I couldn’t put the book down!
    I hope you get a chance to read The Heretics Daughter soon. I thought it was great! And just like this book, she brings that period richly to life and it was a fascinating period of history too! I also thought the mother/daughter relationship in that book was interesting. I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts on it when you read it:).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I plan to pick up The Heretics Daughter at the library later this week. It will be the next contemporary novel that I read. I can’t wait to swap opinions with you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s great! I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts on the book. I recently let a co worker borrow both The Heretics Daughter and The Traitor’s Wife. She just finished The Heretics Daughter and said that she really enjoyed it! I hope you do too!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, BJ! I read the book and I loved it! I left a longer comment on your The Heretic’s Daughter post. Thanks again for encouraging me to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

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