Friday, October 4, 2013

Review of "The Courier of Caswell Hall"

Rating: 4 Stars
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Review: "The Courier of Caswell Hall" by Melanie Dobson served as my introduction to Summerside Press' "American Tapestry" series.   History and love share the stage in this story set during the turbulent American Revolution.  The plot brims with historical details and give a new perspective on the turning point in our nation's history.  Overall, I enjoyed the abundance of history and Dobson's descriptions of the beautiful Williamsburg area.  There were times in the beginning of the novel when the plot seemed a bit stilted by the emphasis on historical facts; and while the narration flowed well, the conversation felt stilted.  Fortunately, once the historical foundation was laid, the plot became more emotionally engaging and the characters became more dimensional.   

The novel is divided into three parts, parts 2 and 3 were when the story really took off for me. Dobson built tension among the characters as loyalties were divided. Lydia's transformation from a loyalist to a true Patriot was gradual and her resistance was understandable, given the constant presence of British soldiers at her family's plantation.  Dobson highlights the role of women in the Revolution through a few other characters, including Sarah, Lydia's friend and neighbor. I applauded the bravery that each woman exhibited when she chose to aid her country in spite of overwhelming danger. Sarah and Lydia were neighbors but were impacted by the war in divergent ways, which was probably very representative of the reality of the Revolutionary War. I was surprised, and saddened at times, by some of the turns of events in both Lydia's and Sarah's lives.  Dobson concludes each story on a bittersweet note, but leaves the reader with an appreciation for the lasting legacy of the women and men who gave America her freedom. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from LitFuse. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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Summary: An unlikely spy discovers freedom and love in the midst of the American Revolution.

As the British and Continental armies wage war in 1781, the daughter of a wealthy Virginia plantation owner feels conflict raging in her own heart. Lydia Caswell comes from a family of staunch Loyalists, but she cares only about peace. Her friend Sarah Hammond, however, longs to join the fight. Both women's families have already been divided by a costly war that sets father against son and neighbor against neighbor; a war that makes it impossible to guess who can be trusted.

One snowy night Lydia discovers a wounded man on the riverbank near Caswell Hall, and her decision to save him will change her life. Nathan introduces her to a secret network of spies, couriers, disguises, and coded messages---a network that may be the Patriots' only hope for winning the war. When British officers take over Caswell Hall and wreak havoc on neighboring plantations, Lydia will have to choose between loyalty and freedom; between her family's protection and her own heart's desires.

As both armies gather near Williamsburg for a pivotal battle, both Lydia and Sarah must decide how high a price they are willing to pay to help the men they love.

Part of the American Tapestries™ series: Each standalone novel in this line sets a heart-stirring love story against the backdrop of an epic moment in American history. This is the fifth book in the series.

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About the Author: Melanie Dobson is the author of twelve novels; her writing has received numerous accolades including two Carol Awards. Melanie worked in public relations for fifteen years before she began writing fiction full-time. Born and raised in the Midwest, she now resides with her husband and two daughters in Oregon.  Connect with Melanie at:

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