Jenn Reads: The Turncoat

All I have to say first is: Oh my.

I needed a hot shower after reading this book.

If you’ve followed my reviews, you’ll know I typically don’t read bodice busting, Fabio-inspired books. My fare tends to include classics, mysteries, literary fiction, and chick lit. Not historical romance.

The Turncoat by Donna Thorland was a gift from my two cats (yeah, yeah) for my birthday. I had picked it out at Barnes and Noble based on the cover and synopsis on the back jacket. It did allude to some smut, but I thought, “Ehh- it’s a large paperback. It can’t be that bad.”

I chose this book for my turn for my girlfriend’s book club, thinking that it would be a lighter read and easy enough for everyone to get through in the allotted time. I warned them that there would be some smut.

I didn’t realize how much smut.

Now, I’m no prude, and wasn’t offended by the sex that was in this book or the quantity of sex. It wasn’t gratuitous and made sense in the context of the story.

And that’s all I’m saying about the smut.

The Turncoat opens with Quaker Kate Grey hosting a British general and his entourage during the American Revolution. There is an instant connection between Kate

The Turncoat by Donna Thorland

and Peter Tremayne (of course). Kate’s father, Arthur, is on his way with supplies for the rebel army and she hopes to stall Peter so the British do not catch up with him. With Kate is her “Aunt”, a woman she has never met before. Tremayne ends up pilfering a letter Arthur Grey had written that would give away secrets, military strategy, etc. In an effort to retrieve the letter, Kate ends up alone with Peter in her bedroom. She does not get the letter back.

After Peter leaves, Kate and her “Aunt” end up fleeing the Grey house and traveling to see General Washington with news. Turns out “Auntie” is a spy for the rebel army. Kate decides to join Aunt Angela as a spy for the rebels and is placed in Philadelphia close to British General Howe.

There is a lot to this story besides the romance between Kate and Peter. One of the reasons I was drawn to this book was that it takes place during the American Revolution, and historical fiction in the last ten years has largely been ignored. The book, while being about a Quaker spy, is also about the British invasion of Fort Mercer in 1777, the occupation of Philadelphia, and John Andre.

Thorland packs a lot into 400 pages and overall I think you get a good idea of what went on during this period of the American Revolution. A couple of her facts are incorrect- like the number of Jaguers that are killed/wounded/captured during the assault on Fort Mercer, but it’s not enough to distract from the story.

The Turncoat was engrossing, but at about 300 pages, I was ready for the story to end. The last hundred pages could have been made into a sequel, as they deal with the turning of Benedict Arnold, and hint at the future capture and hanging (history spoiler!) of John Andre. Thorland is making this a trilogy, but not with the same characters.

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 (would have been 4, but it got long)

I’m looking forward to the next one!

See you in the stacks,


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