Revenge and Retribution is the sixth book in Anna Belfrage’s The Graham Saga, which is a historical fiction/time slip fantasy series. Most readers have a hard time finding a series in which to read that allows the reader to grow along with the characters and still be well-written. However, in this case, we watch Anna’s storytelling blossom in beautiful and full form as she delves deeper and deeper into authentic emotional territory of the family she has created (or as she would say, the characters she just listens to).
For those not familiar with the series, Alex Lind Graham slips through time from the 21st Century into the 17th Century. We follow her confusion at the situation, then her adherence to it as she falls in love with Matthew Graham and marries him. Her life truly takes shape, in all the good and the bad of the 17th Century situations, and she thrives and raises a family with him. Eventually they make it to the New World, but not without more obstacles or sadness. Now, she’s in her early fifties and into a next phase of life, which isn’t always happy and cheery.
The setting of the book is Colonial America and with that comes the Native Americans and the Salem Witch Trials. That made this reader excited, as those topics are some of my favorite subjects of study. But with that comes the darkness and the tumult of a time period seeped in anxiety run rampant, danger, and judgement. With being middle-aged, they’ve also created some enemies and have some baggage from their life journey, which formulates into revenge appearing in this novel too. Alex and Matthew must stand together against all accusations and attacks; they prove once more why they are a formidable force.
Anna’s books are always extremely well-written, with lush details, humorous prose, a bit of steamy marital romance, and strong characters, especially the intelligent and determined Alex. As an author, Anna takes Alex through so many ups and downs, showing the reader that not all things have a happy ending, but that also doesn’t mean you can’t be happy. The marriage of Alex and Matthew is quite extraordinary. They remind me of another of my favorite duos–Diana and Matthew from Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy. What is it that makes these couples so great? The woman’s intelligence and fortitude, strength and curiosity, fervor and determination and the man, his loyalty, support, and unconditional love.
My heart just breaks for Alex and Matthew in this sixth book, but my heart has cried for them before. They always seem to be able to pick up the pieces, no matter how horrendous the situation. I believe book sixth to be one of my favorites, if not her best so far. I’ve loved to watch this series grow and feel as if I know the characters personally. I might never want the series to end for I love Alex, Matthew, and their family.
You certainly can read each book as a stand alone and get the plot of that certain book, but I highly recommend reading the entire series so you can receive the full effect and immerse yourselves in their lives. It’s much better to see how they started and watch them grow, in my opinion. Plus, in each book she seems to wrap-up one part of their lives that might be an issue or something that needs resolved. Sometimes that happens before they move, or sometimes it follows them to the new location, but she does do a wonderful job as making it seem for new readers like a stand-alone issue or conflict, yet for the series followers, making it seem like a resolution!
Anna writes deep, emotional historical novels, adding the fantastical element of the time slip and a “what if?” scenario, and creates for us a world in which to be lost in on rainy days and weekend reading fests. If you haven’t read this Graham Series, then buy it all up and settle in for a read-a-thon this winter. Her prose is sure to keep you warmed and entertained. As for me, I’m highly anticipating the next two books already with a hopefulness she’ll continue the story through one of Alex’s children, because I really loved this sixth book for all it’s grit. Alex certainly is a survivor in all the right forms of the word.
You can read my past reviews, interviews, and articles with Anna below!
Note: I received a copy of this book from the author through HFVBT in exchange for an honest review.
Revenge and Retribution, Synopsis~
Genre: Historical Fiction/Time-Slip
Series: The Graham Saga
Revenge and Retribution is the sixth book in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.
Life in the Colony of Maryland is no sinecure – as Alex and Matthew Graham well know. But nothing in their previous life has prepared them for the mayhem that is about to be unleashed upon them.
Being labelled a witch is not a good thing in 1684, so it is no wonder Alex Graham is aghast at having such insinuations thrown at her. Even worse, it’s Matthew’s brother-in-law, Simon Melville, who points finger at her.
Not that the ensuing hearing is her main concern, because nowadays Alex’s entire life is tainted by the fear of what Philip Burley will do to them once he gets hold of them – there is no longer any ‘if’ about it. On a sunny May afternoon, it seems Philip Burley will at last revenge himself on Matthew for every single perceived wrong. Over the course of twenty-four hours, Alex’s life – and that of her family’s – is permanently changed.
As if all this wasn’t enough, Alex also has to cope with the loss of one of her sons. Forcibly adopted by the former Susquehannock, Samuel is dragged from Alex’s arms to begin a new life in the wilderness.
How is Alex to survive all this? And will she be able to put her damaged family back together?
Graham Saga Titles~
Book One: A Rip in the Veil
Book Two: Like Chaff in the Wind
Book Three: The Prodigal Son
Book Four: A Newfound Land
Book Five: Serpents in the Garden
Book Six: Revenge & Retribution
Book Seven: Whither Thou Goest (November 2014)
Book Eight: To Catch a Falling Star (March 2015)
Author Anna Belfrage, Biography~
I was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical – both non-fiction and fiction.
I was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive …
Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred.
I was always going to be a writer. Now I am – I have achieved my dream.
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