Along Came a Soldier
In early nineteenth century Cornwall, two young people find themselves in love. Charity Perrow and Jethro Ennor could be the protagonists of any historical romance were it not for one thing: Jethro’s father is suspected of having killed Charity’s mother years ago. Despite this, Charity still finds herself drawn to the young man she meets in the forest, even after she learns his name. It would be easy to turn this story into a standard rehash of Romeo and Juliet, but Brenda Davies goes a step further by including a killer lurking in the background. Even as Charity and Jethro find themselves drawn closer together, someone is out in the nearby woods, killing villagers one by one. Together with the town bonesetter, Charity and Jethro must unmask the killer before it is too late.
On the whole, the book was fascinating. It struck an excellent balance between romance and suspense, and the central trio of Charity, Jethro, and Henry were very well portrayed. Charity has an excellent combination of sweetness and fierceness. Jethro, our tortured hero, has a shadowy backstory that is spun out with precision. Henry is a mysterious young man who toes a fine line between terrifying and sympathetic. The secondary characters all had their own defining characteristics, though they didn’t have quite as much depth. I thought some of them could have benefited from a little more subtlety in their characterization, but not one was forgettable.
The plot is likewise a mixed bag. While I enjoyed the way the separate plotlines of love and murder gradually drew together rather than being entangled right from the start, it was occasionally difficult to tell what was going on. What exactly was the supposed accident that killed Charity’s mother? What is Henry’s connection to the town? Over time, those questions are answered, but I would have preferred the answers to come a little sooner, and some of my questions partway through remained unanswered even at the end. It wasn’t quite frustrating, but it did mar my enjoyment of the book.
Overall, Along Came a Soldier was an enjoyable read. It did have its downfalls, but for those who love historical suspense with a strong element of romance, it will be a worthwhile read. I’m certainly glad I came across it, and I’m curious to see what Brenda Davies will write next.
|Page Count||244 pages|
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