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Title: Along Came A Soldier
Author: Brenda Davies
Published: 14th of May 2020 – BHC Press
Format: Ebook – 240 pages
Hello Hello! How are you?
I’ve been home since yesterday evening, it was a really long trip but I’m so glad to be back in sunny France, even though it’s already quite hot. Hopefully, I can get quite a lot done over the next few days as we have to stay confined for 14 days in case we caught the virus, but at least I’ll be able to relax a bit and read! I definitely need to catch up on some sleep though.
Today I’m bringing you another Rachels Random Resources blog tour organised by Rachel for the book Along Came A Soldier by Brenda Davies. I was really excited about this one when I saw the email, and I’m glad I decided to give it a shot. Thank you to Rachel for letting me take part in this tour and for sending me the book. All opinions are my own.
Their love is forbidden, but when murder stalks St Merryn, no secrets or lives are safe. A small village with many secrets… Charity calls St Merryn home but it is where her mother was murdered, the killer never caught. Protected by her family, she lives a sheltered life, but the killer is closer than she knows.
Jethro’s father is a violent drunk, accused and tried for the murder of Charity’s mother, he was found not guilty and set free. The two families have been at war ever since. Violence is all Jethro has ever known, he doesn’t know how to love, he doesn’t believe he deserves it.
A forbidden love… When Charity and Jethro meet by chance they develop an instant attraction neither expected, but their love is forbidden. Charity is torn between loyalty to her family and her growing desire for a man they hate.
A soldier seeking revenge… But someone from the past returns to St Merryn. Henry is a battle-scarred soldier with a ruthless thirst to punish former friends who’ve ruined his life. In a cruel twist, Jethro is accused of murder and Charity must risk everything to save him from the hangman’s noose. In a desperate race against time, she tries to find Henry, the real killer. He, however, has other ideas.
Set in 1820 Cornwall against the backdrop of simple beliefs, witchcraft, and the hangman’s noose is a tale of forbidden love, revenge and forgiveness.
Along Came A Soldier by Brenda Davies is a historical fiction standalone novel set in the 1820s in a small village in Cornwall. We follow the main character, Charity, as she goes about her daily life looking after her ailing father and two brothers, until one day, hers and Jethro’s paths cross. Intertwined with this forbidden love, a soldier is roaming the woods between St Merryn and Penrose.
As you know, historical fiction is one of my favourite genres, and I always jump at the chance to read more books like this one, especially when there is a bit of a mystery element in the plot. I have to say that I’ve not read many books like this one, it was really quite original. I haven’t read many books that go back this far in time, but I really enjoyed all the historical aspects, I thought they were all really well fleshed out and plausible, the atmosphere was nicely set next to these facts and the mystery and romance aspects of the book really made it quite nice to read.
This book is set in Cornwall in the 1820s, I don’t know much about Cornwall, let alone in the 1820s other than what I’ve seen from watching Poldark but I did get a really nice feel from the book. There isn’t much detail about the actual villages of Penrose and St Merryn or farther afield, but I really liked how the woods were described, almost like an actual living being and I think it really helped to set the scene nicely.
Charity: I suppose we can say that Charity is the main character, and for a young woman in this time and setting, she actually came across a lot less modest than I was expecting. She is modest, for sure, but I expected her to be more resigned maybe, I suppose that whatever time you’re in, if you’re young and in love, customs and traditions don’t really matter. She did feel a tad too modern though. Otherwise, she was well fleshed out and I loved following her story, she was really believable and I was rooting for her and Jethro the whole way.
Jethro: He is the second main character and I quickly liked him a lot. His father is a violent drunk and Jethro is only trying to save his younger brother and save enough money to get him and Sam out of Penrose once Sam turns 21. I think that I found Jethro much more believable because of his struggles to come to terms with his emotions and I really enjoyed watching his development and realising that he was just as lost as Charity until he found her and his life got a purpose.
Henry: I have to say that although I didn’t like Henry for various obvious reasons, the mental health and military trauma rep around him was very well handled by the author and as the first I’ve read, I really enjoyed it. Henry was a redcoat and fought at Waterloo, but has come back to St Merryn to get revenge. I was actually quite surprised by this character because up until about 70% through the book, everything around him was very vague, but I think that really benefitted the plot.
Grace: I absolutely adored Grace and I think that she was my favourite character. She is the definition of the chubby mother, aunt or grandmother who is always there to look after you and catch you when you fall. She is a mother figure to both Jethro and Charity in a way and I enjoyed reading about her so much. She was really well portrayed and believable as well.
Obviously there are more characters in this book, but I feel like the secondary characters lacked a little on development and characterisation, which is a bit of a shame because I would have loved to learn more about Joe and William. Both of these characters are not very well understood by the community, but they were both really important to the plot and very interesting characters because of their diversity.
I’m not really sure what I can say in this category to not give anything away, but what I will say is this book isn’t a simple historical fiction novel. It is mixed with a tale of war, trauma, violence and revenge, but also one of forgiveness and love in a time of famine and struggles.
The mystery resides around Henry at the start, but quickly ties itself around the other characters and the plot actually turns out to be much bigger than you expect. The romance in this book was really sweet and well written even though I found it a bit too modern, but what do I know? I don’t come from the 1820s, maybe we are modest compared to them?
I did really enjoy the setting of this book and it made me think of a working-class version of Downtown Abbey for some reason, mixed with Atonement, and it was really enjoyable.
MY THOUGHTS AND RATING
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and was surprised at how the vagueness of the whole plot and story was actually a really great fit with the events and the ending. It was quite vague and at times I struggled to connect with the characters, I think this was due to the third-person narration, but it ended up really working well throughout.
I gave this book 4 stars because I did struggle to connect a bit with the characters and I found some things not quite plausible for the time or setting, but I did enjoy it very much and would definitely recommend to historical fiction and/or mystery fans. The writing style was really fluid and kept me engaged in the story despite the third person narrative which I wasn’t always a fan of, especially with Charity and Jethro, but it worked really well for the parts about Henry.
I don’t think I’ve ever read a historical fiction series, but I would love your recommendations if you have any!
Once again, thank you to Rachel and Brenda for letting me take part in this blog tour and for sending me the book, it kept me occupied during my trip and was a lovely reading experience through all the stress and frustration. I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes out for this author.
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this post, see you soon, stay safe,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – BRENDA DAVIES
Brenda Davies can trace her Cornish heritage back to the 17th century. She loves to indulge her passion of history and all things Cornish by delving into the past and bringing it alive for the reader to experience, which inspired her to write her debut novel Along Came a Soldier. She enjoys whiskey, chocolate, going to the theatre, and losing herself in a good book. She resides in Bristol, England, where she is currently working on her next novel.
If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it here: Amazon UK (affiliate link) – Amazon FR (affiliate link) – AbeBooks (affiliate link) – The Book Depository (affiliate link) – Amazon US – Waterstones – Barnes and Noble – Kobo – Google Play Books – Aerbook BHC Press