Tag Archives: Graham Saga series

My Thoughts on Anna Belfrage’s Graham Saga Book Five: Serpents in the Garden

Serpents in the GardenSerpents in the Garden is book five in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series. It’s been an interesting ride in following along with this family and their adventures in history, with Alex coming from modern times and incorporating pretty well in to Matthew’s 17th Century world, all things considered.  As they’ve moved on now to the New World, and as the present keeps appearing into the past, we see how both times collide. Then, there are the new characters introduced and assisted in each novel that really make each story unique. Yet, there is also a seamless feel to them as well.

As this is book five, we start to see more of their children as they grow, and in this novel we experience watching Jacob and Daniel find their career paths, Ian and his wife Jenny struggle, people out for revenge due to Matthew’s actions, and more. The life of Matthew and Alex is always full of love, but also outside conflicts and the violence with others who believe they’ve been wronged heat up in this book as much as the sexual scenes. If you love a lot of action and steamy romance, this book will keep you turning the pages!

There’s always feisty and independent Alex, and loyal and patient Matthew, and though they do get into tiffs now and again, they have a deep love that transcends all the plots of all the novels. But the romance part isn’t what draws me to her books, it’s that she’s written a well-done novel of time travel that features Alex fitting in and making a life in history. I enjoy her deep character development. It’s been exciting, as a modern woman, seeing Alex travel from my period and into all the various tumultuous periods of history. Seeing the struggles of life during these travels through her eyes, is enlightening.

Anna is a wonderful storyteller and her books are always well-written. This series is definitely one you’ll want to collect with its sweeping saga of prose and its elegant and gorgeous covers. You could probably start with any of them and enjoy the story, the way they are written, but I definitely thinking buying the whole set is worth it if you like historical romance with a twist.

Serpents in the Garden, Synopsis~

Serpents in the GardenPublication Date: March 1, 2014
SilverWood Books
Formats: Ebook, Paperback

After years of hard work, Matthew and Alex Graham have created a thriving home in the Colony of Maryland. About time, in Alex’s opinion, after far too many adventures she is really looking forward to some well-deserved peace and quiet.

A futile hope, as it turns out. Things start to heat up when Jacob, the third Graham son, absconds from his apprenticeship to see the world – especially as Jacob leaves behind a girl whom he has wed in a most irregular fashion.

Then there’s the infected matter of the fellow time traveller Alex feels obliged to help – no matter the risk. Worst of all, one day Philip Burley and his brothers resurface after years of absence. As determined as ever to make Matthew pay for every perceived wrong – starting with the death of their youngest brother – the Burleys play out a complicated cat and mouse game, and Alex is thrown back into an existence where her heart is constantly in her mouth, convinced as she is that one day the Burleys will achieve their purpose.

Will the Burleys succeed? And if they do, will the Graham family survive the exacted price?
Serpents in the Garden is the fifth book in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

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 (coming August 2014)
Book Seven: Whither Thou Goest

Buy the Book~

Amazon CA
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Chapters
Fishpond
Kobo Books

Author Anna Belfrage, Biography~

Anna BelfrageI 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.

For more information, please visit Anna Belfrage’s website. You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/serpentsinthegardentour
Tour Hashtag: #SerpentsintheGardenTour

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Anna Belfrage Brings her Graham Saga into late 1600s New World Drama with Book Four, A Newfound Land

Anna Belfrage’s cast of characters are unforgettable in her Graham Saga historical fiction series of books. I’ve read novels 1-3 (Rip in the Veil #1, Like Chaff in the Wind #2, and The Prodigal Son #3) and reviewed books 2 and 3.  To start if you haven’t read the series, you can read my review of Like Chaff in the Wind by clicking HERE and my review of The Prodigal Son HERE. I’ve had an interview with Belfrage you can read HERE. Anna is funny as just about anyone I know, her humor is priceless and I can imagine that she herself emulates the strength and humor found in her main protagonist, Alex(andra).  She’s even wrote a guest post about how her characters take over life that you can find HERE.

Now that I’ve given you a ton of back content to read, I hope you’ll stick around for my review of the recently published book four in the series, which she called A Newfound Land.  Her characters of Matthew and Alex Graham, and family, head to the New World for woodland outskirts set near the Maryland colony in the 1600s, after leaving Scotland to get away from all the religious strife.

A Newfound Land

I love these covers!! Love the feathers in this one!

I highly recommend for the best reading experience possible that at least book two (Like Chaff in the Wind) and three (The Prodigal Son) are read before starting four, though starting with the first (A Rip in the Veil) and continuing would be best as readers learn about Alex slipping back into the past (from the 2000s to the 1600s).

I feel book two can be read stand alone, but as a reader delves further into the series, I feel the story would lose its value to most readers if not read in its entirety. Definitely, I do not recommend reading book four without the background of at least two and three.  I believe books two and three had more action, which will grab readers more and make them feel a connection to the series, and by reading those they can understand what the family went through at various times, why they relate to each other as they do, the decisions they’ve made, and they get a more well-rounded view. I think readers would have no idea what is going on with Alex’s son Ian if they hadn’t read book three, or why her past comes back around (and why it matters) in book four without reading the previous books.

I also believe that book four is more of a “breather” of some sorts as opposed to all the action and drama in books two and three. Alex and Matthew are 14 years post book three now and learning to live with the hardships of a newly formed territory and having to live off the land.  Not only is Alex a new mom many times over, she is still getting pregnant. She is still her free thinking and impulsive self, but less so. I find her a bit more reserved (unless her children or a woman in need are involved), more in tune with preserving her current family–husband and children–and being content in her new time period that includes, of course, none of the luxury of our millennium from whence she came, but also none of their former life either. Life is hard in the New World and we as readers see how it has hardened and aged them both. Not to mention we get to see the drama that ensues as other people keep dramatically dropping back into their lives. I thought a little that maybe it seemed far-fetched that they all would just “happen” to meet up here in the New World, but I see how Anna was trying to bring the past back into the story and for all unresolved to be…well, resolved. It worked with the story, because the life of Alex and Matthew, of course, is nothing BUT surprises.

Though the plot seemed more laid back to me, it did move quickly from one “happening” to the next. There was always something going on with someone. A mystery, a crime, a family occurrence–something sad, something happy. Things moved along sometimes too slow while also moving too fast. Does that even make sense? Maybe I feel it lacked some focus on part of a story line. I did enjoy that Belfrage brought into the story, due to the time period, the historical aspect of indentured servants, slaves, rogue residents, and the Native American conflicts.  I liked how she showcased Alex and Matthew (even though both from different times) to be NOT racist or biased. Her portrayal of Matthew to be a strong man of the time, but one that was fair and just in his treatment of others was phenomenal. I really liked how she told the underdog’s story and how he always considers her opinion in matters of major decisions.

I am more of a subtle romance person…i.e. a light touch of hand or a look…so Belfrage goes a little overboard for me this time in terms of their sexual relations. Maybe she wanted to prove how much they still want each other even though they are now around 40 (which is old for that time period!) and fertile. But they would be so overworked and fatigued, I would think! I found myself skipping those parts. Due to her superb writing and characterization over all her books, I can already imagine in my own mind how they are with each other without all the detail. But for other romance readers, it might not be a big deal. I am more a historical reader though, than reading for the steamy romance.  With them, and others in the story, it did seems to center a little too much on sex relations between many parties, mainly in the woods, but maybe that is because back then that was most of the entertainment they had? ha!

Overall I think this book read a lot like a journal depicting their lives or a narrator sharing each day of their current lives with us. I am a huge fan of colonial period history and I enjoyed that aspect of it best. For fans of Matthew and Alex’s life, this gave even more great detail into their personalities and how they conform to any situation and learn to survive. It wrapped up past questions and haunts and moved the family into the future and a new life. For all those reasons it worked within the Saga. It was almost like a bridge. At least I am hoping so and look forward to what new adventures lie in Belfrage’s next Graham series books, of which I think there will be a few more.

It’s a great set to own in its entirety as this family is one that you’ll grow close too and not soon forget. If you love historical fiction with great character development–a strong female lead who is incorrigible, sarcastic, loving, and determined, then The Graham Saga is a set to start on from the beginning (when you learn why she slipped into the past in the first place). The series covers many different locales, challenges, and historical issues that make it a great social read. I find myself many times laughing out loud at Alex when I read Belfrage’s books. I love that about them!

A Newfound Land, Synopsis~

A Newfound LandPublication: November 1, 2013
Matador Publishing Paperback;
402p
ISBN: 978-1781321355

It’s 1672, and Matthew Graham and his family have left Scotland.  Having taken the drastic decision to leave their homeland due to  religious conflicts, Alexandra and Matthew hope for a simpler, if  harsher, life in the wilds of the Colony of Maryland.

Unfortunately, things don’t always turn out as you want them to, and  the past has a nasty tendency to resurface at the most inappropriate  moments. Both Matthew and Alex are forced to cope with the unexpected  reappearance of people they had never thought to meet again, and the  screw is turned that much tighter when the four rogue Burley brothers  enter their lives.

Matters are further complicated by the strained relations between  colonists and the Susquehannock Indians. When Matthew intercedes to stop the Burleys from abducting Indian women into slavery he makes lifelong – and deadly – enemies of them all.

Once again Alex is plunged into an existence where death seems to threaten her man wherever he goes.

Will Matthew see himself – and his family – safe in these new circumstances? And will the past finally be laid to rest?

A Newfound Land is the fourth book in Anna Belfrage’s time slip  series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth  century husband, Matthew Graham.

Author Anna Belfrage, Biography~

Anna BelfrageI 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.

For more information, please visit Anna Belfrage’s website.  You can find many extras and more information on Books 1-3 in The Graham Saga!  You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Link to Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/anewfoundlandtour/
Twitter Hashtag: #NewfoundLandTour

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