The Wolves of Andover

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Overview

In the harsh wilderness of colonial Massachusetts, Martha Allen works as a servant in her cousin's household, taking charge and locking wills with everyone. Thomas Carrier labors for the family and is known both for his immense strength and size and mysterious past. The two begin a courtship that suits their independent natures, with Thomas slowly revealing the story of his part in the English Civil War. But in the rugged new world they inhabit, danger is ever present, whether it be from the assassins sent from ...

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Overview

In the harsh wilderness of colonial Massachusetts, Martha Allen works as a servant in her cousin's household, taking charge and locking wills with everyone. Thomas Carrier labors for the family and is known both for his immense strength and size and mysterious past. The two begin a courtship that suits their independent natures, with Thomas slowly revealing the story of his part in the English Civil War. But in the rugged new world they inhabit, danger is ever present, whether it be from the assassins sent from London to kill the executioner of Charles I or the wolves-in many forms-who hunt for blood. A love story and a tale of courage, The Wolves of Andover confirms Kathleen Kent's ability to craft powerful stories of family from colonial history.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Kent doesn't disappoint in this prequel to The Heretic's Daughter, taking readers back to Massachusetts before the Salem witch trials as strong-willed 23-year-old Martha Allen falls in love with strong-armed hired hand Thomas Carrier. Rumor has it that Thomas, while living in England under another name, played a role in the execution of King Charles I. Now both he and Martha work for Martha's cousin on her farm and are brought together with a little help from the wolves stalking the farm. But after Thomas saves Martha from a wolf attack, he discovers wild animals are not the only dangers lurking in the Massachusetts woods: assassins have arrived from London to capture Charles I's executioner, said to be living outside Boston under an assumed name. Kent weaves in references to her first novel while creating an immersive stand-alone where Old World corruption clashes with New World opportunity; London bustles as civilization is carved out of the Massachusetts wilderness; and colonial self-reliance contrasts with dealing for favors in Restoration England. Kent brings colonial America to life by poking into its dark corners and finding its emotional and personal underpinnings. (Nov.)
Library Journal
In coastal Massachusetts in 1673, wolves still lurked in the shadows, and farmers toiled to keep the forest at bay. Martha Allen is sent to such a farm to help her cousin who's in the final months of her pregnancy. Sharp-tongued and independent, Martha finds life difficult no matter where she is and considers her cousin Patience to be spoiled and soft and the hired men impudent. As Martha becomes accustomed to life in Billerica, she forms a tenuous friendship with Thomas Carrier, a hired man of enormous size and few words. As they forge ahead in their relationship, hired assassins from London are on their way to assassinate the men who executed Charles II during the English civil war. Who will succeed and who will die? VERDICT In this prequel to Kent's best-selling The Heretic's Daughter—a retelling of her ancestor's execution during the Salem witch trials—the author combines harsh images of early Colonial life with a well-paced story and careful details. The result is a taut narrative that will satisfy historical fiction lovers. [Barbara Hoffert's Fiction Pick, Prepub Alert, LJ 8/10; on Saturday, Nov. 6, the publisher and Kent are inviting descendants of the Carrier family and other families associated with the witch trials as well as history buffs to a Carrier family reunion in Salem, MA.—Ed.]—Anna Karras Nelson, Collier Cty. P.L., Naples, FL
Kirkus Reviews

In this prequel to The Heretic's Daughter(2008), Kent tells the fictionalized story of her ancestor Martha Carrier's courtship with her future husband years before she became a victim of the Salem Witch Trials.

In 1673, Martha's father sends her to help her pregnant cousin Patience, whose husband Daniel is often away from the family's farm near Andover. He's also hoping she'll find a proper suitor among the local clergy. Instead she's drawn to one of the two indentured hired men on the farm. An unusually tall Welshman approaching 50, Thomas Carrier carries himself with an air of mystery and authority that intrigues Martha despite herself, especially after he kills the wolves menacing the farm. Those wolves, which Martha dangerously approaches before Thomas shoots them, resemble the band of assassins sent to Massachusetts from London by a minion of King Charles II, who wants to avenge the death of his father, the Catholic Charles I killed by Cromwell. The book cuts between Martha's growing relationship with Thomas and the assassins' ill-fated mission as the killers drop off one by one, victims of double-cross, drowning, poison and warring Indians. Martha soon learns that Thomas served as the King's guard as a youth before joining Cromwell's cause. He was indeed the one who brought the ax down on Charles I's head, but he later lost faith in Cromwell when he saw him becoming a despot. As the surviving assassin draws closer, Martha—who has her own secret—fears she has inadvertently betrayed Thomas's secret when Patience finds the diary in which Martha wrote down his story. But Daniel, like most of his neighbors, is a staunch defender of Protestantism. For all his evil, diabolic planning, the assassin never has a chance.

Kent has more fun with the Londoners—Johnny Depp could play almost any of the baddies—than her somewhat morose ancestors, but she lovingly captures their daily grind and brings looming dangers, whether man or beast, to harrowing life.

The Barnes & Noble Review

The Wolves Of Andover is a prequel to Kathleen Kent’s best-selling first novel, The Heretic’s Daughter. That story was set during the time of the Salem witch trials, and concerns the accused Martha Currier her brave young daughter, Sarah and the spectre of potentially fatal family secrets. Written with grace and lyricism, Kent's debut played out at a galloping pace that made for a fine first work of fiction.

The Wolves Of Andover steps back in time to tell Martha's back story as she comes of age in Colonial Massachusetts in the 1670s. The unmarried and seemingly unmarriageable Martha Allen is sent nearly as a servant to help out at her pregnant cousin's house. Past twenty years old, and considered a hopeless old maid, stubborn Martha is "passed like an old kettle" to the new family. Life is hard; luxuries, even pleasures are few. Wolves prowl the countryside, and Indians and deadly pox pose daily threats. Martha is haunted not only by these immediate dangers, but by memories of her own childhood abuse at the hands of a minister -- a secret she reveals only to her hidden red notebook.

Martha is intrigued almost against her will by a tall Welshman named Thomas, handyman and laborer at her cousin's farm. Thomas may have secrets of his own, linking him dangerously to the death of King Charles. Meanwhile, a parallel plot shows us the seedy side of life in England under the second King Charles, who seeks vengeance for his father's murder. This subplot is surely the novel's weak link, filled as it is with villains who seem to have been sent over by Central Casting -- the snarky servant to the king, the bloodthirsty bullies, the randy king etc. Altogether too much space is devoted to this British gang and their violent doings, making The Wolves Of Andover darker and more gruesome than it need be, and slowing the novel's pacing.

On the other hand, Kent is a master at conveying the details of life in seventeenth-century New England. The trading of two piglets for a bolt of fine wool; the slippery elm used to ease a newborn's passage; live traps set for marauding wolves. Moments such as these open a window onto both the world and the voice of Colonial America, as do some of Martha's musings: "the sorts of words that the Old Scotsmen still used were like pepperweed in a mutton stew." What's more, Martha is a genuinely engaging heroine, and Thomas emerges as a worthy counterpart. Their slow, reluctant but passionate courtship comes to life under Kent's hand: "She wound her arms more tightly around his neck, impressing herself onto him, promising to wear the unintended bruises like the flags of a new country."

As passages such as the above indicate, The Wolves Of Andover will largely appeal to devotees of straightforward historical romance, though admirers of The Heretic's Daughter may also welcome the chance to come to know Martha Currier better. And the story, while at its center a predictable fulfillment of its heroine's deferred hopes, has one or two marvelous twists, including one hero hidden where you'd never expected to find him.

--Liz Rosenberg

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316068628
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 11/8/2010
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen Kent

Kathleen Kent is the author of The Heretic's Daughter. She lives in Dallas.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 47 )
Rating Distribution

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(13)

4 Star

(21)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 48 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Would you be willing to stand up for what is right no matter what the cost?

    Sometimes in a man's life he must be willing to stand up against what he knows is wrong even if it means he will stand alone.

    In the novel, The Wolves of Andover by Kathleen Kent, you are taken back to the 1600's to the reign of King Charles I and the Cromwell's. However some of the kings back handed dealings are appealing to those that were once loyal to the crown no matter the cost. Cromwell is about to see to it that he can locate men willing to go against the crown and put King Charles I to trial. If he is found guilty the punishment is beheading.

    Martha Allen is a woman that believes that she should marry for love and not because of a certain age with any willing man. Yet her father is growing tired of her reluctance to find a husband and sends her to aid her cousin Patience with her child bearing as her times grows close and help around the home while her husband Daniel travels out of town to trade for goods and food.

    Martha believes in taking charge even if that means making men feeling uncomfortable. John and Thomas are both hired men that work for Patience and Daniel with the promise of a plot of land for their service. When the threat of wolves looms over the town, a bounty is promised for whomever can kill the wolf and it's mate. Yet what Martha sees in the quietness of Thomas and his strength is what draws her near to get to know him more. Yet Thomas may be hiding more that just secrets from everyone.

    I received this wonderful book from Hachette Book Groups for my honest review and must say aside from a slow beginning in understanding the characters and two different stories, give it time and the book will reward you with a very interesting turn of events that will keep you glued to the end. I would rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars.

    This book is available in hardcover, paperback, large print, eBook, and CD formats.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2010

    Well spun tale!

    It's 1692 and the United States as we know it does not exist. We were still a group of colonies and young Martha Allen had just arrived at her cousin's home in Billerica, Massachusetts. Martha is not a guest. She's expected to help her cousin Patience through her pregnancy and also do the work of a servant around the house and the farm. Nineteen-year-old Martha is strong willed and has a sharp tongue, and will soon be an "old maid." She knows only too well the fate awaits a single woman with no place to call her own. Also working on the property is Thomas Carrier, a man rumored to be a regicide hiding in plain site in Billerica. Thomas fits the physical description of supposed executioner of Charles I. In Kathleen Kent's second book, The Wolves of Andover, we meet the young Martha whose later life story was told to us in Kent's first book, The Heretic's Daughter, which follows Martha as she stood trial at the Salem witch hunts. Author Kathleen Kent is a direct descendant of the real life Martha Allen Carrier and I believe she does her family well. These books are technically described as historical fiction, however I think that is a disservice to Kent's work. She tells a story that pays homage not only to Kent's nine times great grand-mother, Martha, but also to all of our ancestors who lived in those dangerous times and places. They knew no modern conveniences and considered surviving a tough winter or childbirth to be good fortune. The book's title, The Wolves of Andover, not only refers to the wild wolves that circle the settlements to stalk and prey on whatever they can kill, but to the wolves who walk on two feet who also stalk their unfortunate prey. Told against the background of the wilderness of "new" England, Kent spins a very readable tale of survival of the fittest, survival of the smartest, and survival of those who will not be beaten. I highly recommend The Wolves of Andover! I encourage you to get past the idea that you don't like historical fiction. This book won't disappoint. The story of Martha Allen and Thomas Carrier is in many ways the same struggle men and women face with today: how to find a place in the world in which to be happy and safe. I loved this book and these people. If I gave a star rating, I'd give this book a very strong 4 ½ stars. Source: This book was provided to me by the publisher at my request and in no way affected by review.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great Historical Fiction Pick!

    I actually did not realize that this was a prequel to Kathleen Kent's The Heretic's Daughter, a book that I read a couple years ago. I thought this was a great standalone book and if you didn't know otherwise, you wouldn't realize that there was a connection between the two books until the very end of the book. You may even want to read this book before you read The Heretic's Daughter if you haven't read it already.


    I really liked the story that took place in Massachusetts rather than the story on the boat. I thought the characters of Martha and Thomas and Martha's cousin's family were much more engaging than the men chasing after Thomas (they seem to do a lot of waiting and talking and that's about it). I thought that Martha was a really interesting character. At her relatively young age, she's already sort of is a old maid and she goes to her cousin's family to basically try to find a husband.


    In a way, I almost enjoyed this book much more than The Heretic's Daughter. Thomas' story is incredibly interesting and really opened a new part of history for me. I also liked the picture of the small settlement that the characters lived in. I really thought you got a really good picture of how the early American settlers lived and some of the dangers that they faced.


    Bottom line: This is a great historical fiction read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Kathleen Kent Does It Again - Insightful, Captivating Look at 17th c. Massachusetts

    Kent's second book, The Wolves of Andover, takes place well before the fateful events of the Salem Witch Trial. It's the story of how Martha and Thomas Carrier met and the relationship that ultimately secured their friendship and loyalty to each other. But this is also about Thomas and the rumors whirling about him. As a Welshman and member of the Royal Guard of the King of England when he was younger, he is rumored to be the executioner of Charles I, and there is a bounty on his head. The colonies are known to have kept quiet the whereabouts of those who contributed to the rebellion against the king, those who followed Oliver Cromwell on the battlefields. But will the town remain quiet when the four thugs who are hired in London make the dangerous journey across the Atlantic to hunt down Thomas? Part of the reason why I love Kathleen Kent's books so much is that her work is unbelievably polished. Her scenes are as pure and true to how one might write and read in the 17th century, without losing any sense of its "readability" in our modern times.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2014

    In a word, Dreadful. If you enjoy a period novel with paragraphs

    In a word, Dreadful.
    If you enjoy a period novel with paragraphs full of spit, snot, vomit, viscera, entrails, and whores, this is the book for you. If not, you'll
    put it down like I did, after three slow, awful chapters. Not sure if the author is going for shock value, or if she believes this is how people
    spoke back in the 1600's.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 11, 2010

    slow and boring

    I thought thus would be an interesting book. And the subject matter was. Hiwever I found ut a slow read and actually skipped a few chapters to hurry it aling. I would nit recimmend thus book.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    a strong historical that looks deep at the darker roots of Colonial America

    In the Massachusetts Bay Colony, while both worked on her cousin's farm, twenty-three years old Martha Allen falls in love with hired hand Thomas Carrier. However, she also hears the rumor that circulates about Thomas fleeing England after playing a major role in the beheading of King Charles I.

    Thomas saves Martha's life when wolves who stalk the farm attack her. He also learns that kidnappers have crossed the pond preferably to capture and take back to London for public trial or execute the man who killed the former monarch. These outsiders hear the rumors about Thomas living on the coast north of Boston.

    Although those who have read The Heretic's Daughter knows what will happen to Martha, Kathleen Kent demonstrates her skill as a great author by engaging the full attention throughout of her fans (and newcomers) in the superb prequel. The story line is action packed as the conflict between people entrenched in the Restoration come across as the status quo and those adapting to a new world order carved in a wilderness makes for a strong historical that looks deep at the darker roots of Colonial America.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2014

    This was a prequel to "The Heretic's Daughter."  Altho

    This was a prequel to "The Heretic's Daughter."  Although I enjoyed "The Heretic's Daughter" more, this was still a good read, and it was nice to get some background on the parents from the original book.

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  • Posted February 18, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I usually love colonial period novels. This novel just did not d

    I usually love colonial period novels. This novel just did not do a thing for me. I thought it was draggy, and often a little boring. I like some of Kathleen Kent's other books, so I guess this one was just an anomaly for me. I can't really recommend it, as I just did not enjoy reading it at all. I did finish it, and I can't say that I changed my mind about the book once I knew the ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2013

    Excellent

    I love this novel - it made me feel like I could see, smell and taste Colonial America. I thought about the characters whenever I wasn't able to read! I highly recommend!

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  • Posted April 26, 2013

    Absolutly fabulous!!! Highly recommend!!! Please see my full re

    Absolutly fabulous!!! Highly recommend!!! Please see my full recommendation under the title "The Traitor's Wife"

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  • Posted May 11, 2012

    Martha...you go girl!

    Kent does it again. I love good historical fiction. Like Heretic's Daughter, Kent takes you back to colonial New England to explore her family stories. I like the way she develops her characters by throwing them in to the emtional vortex of the time.

    It make me wonder what my ancestors had to endure to get me to the 21st century. Martha...you go girl!

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  • Posted January 14, 2011

    A COMPELLING,COMPLEX STORY OF EARLY COLONIAL AMERICA!

    THE WOLVES OF ANDOVER by Kathleen Kent is a gripping historical romance set in 1649 London, England and 1673 Billerica, Massachusetts. It is well written with great details,depth,and history.It has intrigue,love,hope,wolves,revenge,danger,turbulent times in the wilderness of America and England, betrayal,sacrifice,Puritans,secrets,political times,and it is thought provoking. The characters and plot come off the page,will keep you turning the page for this is a heartwretching story of the everyday life during turbulent times in early American colonies.When falling in love with the wrong man,being female,having different personal and political views could get you and your family killed.This is a compelling gripping story from the beginning page to the last page. It will keep you hoping all will turn out well for the main characters. This author writes both compelling and comples stories of the early life of the America colonies.If you enjoy the history of a early America, their trials,sacrifice, hope and happiness you will enjoy this one. This book was received from the publisher for review and details can be found at Little, Brown and Company, an division of Hachette Book Group,Inc. and My Book Addiction and More.

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  • Posted December 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Trying to download and it says "unsupported file type"

    This is so frustrating as I wanted to start reading this and I cannot find how to fix the problem anywhere. Right now I have a "dead nookbook" and no way to open it.

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Kent's WOLVES bites off a bit more than it can chew.

    "The life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."
    Thomas Hobbes

    Life in 1673 Massachusetts lived up to Hobbes' expectations. In THE WOLVES OF ANDOVER, Kathleen Kent offers a realistic depiction of survival through the eyes of colonial woman, Martha Allen. With a sharp eye for detail, Kent does not shy away from historical accuracy in order to create a romance full of beauty and lightness. Instead, she depicts rustic settlers living in primitive conditions in close proximity to livestock. Many are hanging on by a thread against Indian attack, disease and poverty.

    Martha's strength is that she rises to meet these challenges. Having reached the age of 20 without a husband, her father can no longer afford to care for her. Martha is sent to live with her cousin, Patience and her family as a servant. Patience is suffering through a difficult pregnancy and requires help around the house. Martha takes on the role of housekeeper caring for Patience's children, Will and Joanna; her husband, Daniel and their indentured servants, John and Thomas.

    When a pack of wolves starts terrorizing the countryside, Martha forges a bond with Thomas despite his being 30 years her senior. While attempting to ensnare the lupines, his quiet, steady demeanor captures the interest of the sharp-tongued girl. While strong and physically fit, Thomas' fate lies in the hands of Patience and Daniel. His hope rests on their granting him a parcel of land upon completion of his servitude. Martha's future too is uncertain once Patience is delivered of child.

    Even scenes of love are tempered by the harsh setting. Martha comes across Thomas bare-chested in the barn. However, he is at work slaughtering a crippled calf. Thomas steals admiring glances at Martha, while she is submerged in a boggy marsh gathering wild leeks. When the village Casanova makes a play for Martha, Thomas pushes his body to the breaking point in order to beat his much-younger competitor in a harvest-mowing contest. When wooing her, Thomas backhandedly compares Martha to a doe in a fable saying, "You are the deer shot through with arrows whose heart grows cold for want of being taken."

    Yet the focus of the book revolves around Thomas' past. Was he the man who swung the blade that beheaded King Charles I? The regent's son, King Charles II is unwavering in his determination to find his father's killer supposedly well hidden in the New World. A group of hired torturers is bidden to bring back the man who took his father's life.

    The novel is succinctly split between the story of Martha and Thomas and that of Thomas' pursuers. It jumps between alternating chapters delineating the approaching meeting point of the two plot lines. This weakens the work as a whole. Instead of staying in the Massachusetts Bay Colony throughout the narrative, a plethora of characters and settings is introduced as the hit men make their way from England to Boston Harbor. The progression of the book loses its steam when divided between what amounts to two stories that are better off standing on their own. While attempting to bring more history into the novel such as the royal court, the back alleys of London and life aboard a merchant ship, Kent falters by veering off course instead of concentrating on the plight of her two main characters.

    Overall, Kent's WOLVES bites off a bit more than it can chew.

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