Official Review: A Devil of a Time by Gretchen Jeannette

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
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Lisalovecraft
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Latest Review: "A Devil of a Time" by Gretchen Jeannette

Official Review: A Devil of a Time by Gretchen Jeannette

Post by Lisalovecraft » 13 Jul 2015, 10:55

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "A Devil of a Time" by Gretchen Jeannette.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Set towards the end of the Revolutionary War, A Devil of a Time by Gretchen Jeannette introduces the reader to the invading British army's effects on Colonial America. The author mixes romance with historical fiction and mystery to create a captivating story.

Clarice Wade is a young mother and mistress of a struggling tobacco plantation in Williamsburg, VA. Her husband, Andrew, is plagued by demons of his past and has taken to the bottle to drown his sorrows. An old friend of Andrew’s, Niall McLane, a disgraced war veteran, enters into the young couple's lives. Soon a bizarre love triangle ensues between Clarice, her husband, and Niall. Add a deranged serial killer to the mix, and you have a tale that keeps you guessing! Niall McLane made his fame as a brutal fighter during the war. He is now under suspicion of killing innocent people. Is he the killer? Will he be arrested or can he clear his name?

The setting is lovely. The author gracefully weaves aspects of the time period into the story, from medicine to the hardships of running a tobacco farm, to the effects of the war on the land and people. We also see what it is like to be a woman in the late 1700’s; she at the mercy of her husband’s whims. I found these aspects really interesting and informative; I loved learning about the details of the everyday lives of people during this period.

The characters are well developed and stay true to form throughout the story. The most tragic is that of Andrew. The author did a great job of showing redemption of this character in particular. I alternated between hating him and feeling sorry for him, which I believe was the author’s intention. The budding romantic relationship between Niall and Clarice was well written and exciting.

The plot is thoroughly developed and paced appropriately. I found myself on the edge of my seat for most of the book. I would put the book down and then immediately pick it up again. The ending was along the lines of what I expected but I really enjoyed the twists and turns that the plot took to get there. There is intense action and violence, including flashbacks of the characters’ pasts that give the reader insight into their current actions. These were some of my favorite parts of the book, as it really built the characters into believable people.

Seeing the killer’s motivations and the other characters obliviousness made me want to scream. I think that the author’s move to reveal the killer early on instead of making it a mystery was a great one. It was chilling to read about this person’s thought process!

Themes include trauma and war, alcoholism, domestic violence, and mental illness. These are things that people still struggle with today. These issues brought the time period into perspective, as people haven’t changed that much.

I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. Fans of historical fiction, crime, and especially romance will find much to like in this gripping tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end!

******
A Devil of a Time
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Latest Review: "A Devil of a Time" by Gretchen Jeannette

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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 22 Jul 2015, 18:55

Great review! Wow, that sounds interesting!

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Latest Review: "A Devil of a Time" by Gretchen Jeannette

Post by Lisalovecraft » 22 Jul 2015, 19:01

Thank you! It was quite interesting!
Latest Review: "A Devil of a Time" by Gretchen Jeannette

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Post by bookowlie » 22 Jul 2015, 19:24

Nice review! Since you liked this book, the author's second book is on the list of available review books (as of yesterday).
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Post by wvjack » 24 Jul 2015, 11:34

Lisa, your review is wonderful, right on the mark. I’ve read this book, and I heartily agree with your sentiments. This is one heck of a story.

I hope you’ll consider reviewing the author’s second book. I found it highly entertaining.

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Post by Levi » 26 Jul 2015, 21:44

Lisa, that was a great review that you wrote and I can prove it....your review made me want to read the book, even though there was romance in it. :) I love all the genres that you mentioned, and if the author succeeded in intertwining them all in one book, then that is impressive.
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Post by ananya92 » 27 Jul 2015, 00:02

Wonderful review. The book seems quite engaging.

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Post by kio » 27 Jul 2015, 14:02

Great review. I liked how you mentioned the themes of the book. That gave me a better idea of whether or not I wanted to read it.
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Post by memory » 29 Jul 2015, 12:34

Great review, I will have to add this one to my "To Be Read" list. I'm particularly interested to see how the author represents Williamsburg since I used to live there.
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Post by hsimone » 05 Aug 2015, 09:56

@Lisalovecraft

This is a great review! You made this book sound very interesting, and I will definitely have to put this on my want-to-read list. Thanks for a great review!
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Post by Jesska6029 » 06 Aug 2015, 15:22

Revealing the killer's identity near the beginning is a risky move, but I am glad it paid off. I think I would enjoy this book. Great review!
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Post by Keith80 » 20 Aug 2015, 23:02

Good review. But I am wondering if this book is more of a chic-lit than a murder mystery type. The ingredients are there; southern plantation, drinking husband, returning war hero, stressed heroine who needs consolation. It sounds to fit the formula to me, or am I just being cynical? The review is good though.

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Post by Cee-Jay Aurinko » 21 Aug 2015, 01:40

Lisalovecraft, you've done a wonderful job reviewing this book. The premise sounds interesting. Congratulations to the author on a 4 star rating!
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Post by literarycat » 29 Sep 2015, 10:31

This sounds like a fantastic book. You did a great job with the review
The world breaks everyone, and afterwards, some are strong at the broken points ~ Ernest Hemingway.

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Post by Lisalovecraft » 07 Oct 2015, 20:29

literarycat wrote:This sounds like a fantastic book. You did a great job with the review
Thanks so much @literarycat :D

-- 07 Oct 2015, 20:31 --

:roll:
Keith80 wrote:Good review. But I am wondering if this book is more of a chic-lit than a murder mystery type. The ingredients are there; southern plantation, drinking husband, returning war hero, stressed heroine who needs consolation. It sounds to fit the formula to me, or am I just being cynical? The review is good though.
I won't disagree with this @Keith80 . It was a little formulaic, however it was an excellent representation of its genre :)

-- 07 Oct 2015, 20:31 --
Leon Durham wrote:Lisalovecraft, you've done a wonderful job reviewing this book. The premise sounds interesting. Congratulations to the author on a 4 star rating!

Thanks @leon Durham. I agree, congrats to the author for writing such a fun book!
Latest Review: "A Devil of a Time" by Gretchen Jeannette

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