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By the Sword based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Set in Yorkshire in 1650, the story revolves around a family divided by loyalties to Cromwell and Charles II, in the midst of the conflict between the Roundheads and Royalists, also known as the English Civil War. The widowed Kate Ashley and her young son Tom are supporters of Cromwell, if she actually was said to be supporting anyone. Her existence is pleasant, if frugal, and her life with her son is proceeding along nicely. She’s vowed never to remarry, and the distance from her husband’s family is a long-standing separation, and one that she rarely considers. Kate’s husband’s cousin, Jonathan Thornton, is a royalist, and out of favor with Parliament. With his father’s upcoming death, the estate of Seven Ways will revert to the family member favored by Parliament, and that means young Tom, Kate’s son. In meeting Sir Francis Thornton shortly before his death, Kate and Tom come to realize that their lives are changing, but no one realizes just how dramatically. A chance meeting with the heir who wouldn’t be (Jonathan) sets up a series of chance and no so meetings as the attraction between Kate and Jon is instant and electric. This sets up a tale of two lovers, torn by war and political leanings, but meant to love forever without end. Told in a long series of stolen moments mixed in with battle, treachery, danger and tests of loyalty, Kate and Jon are uniquely bonded: her steadfast loyalty to the man she loves and has promised to remain faithful until he is a free man is uniquely told. Kate’s lack of vacillation and adherence to the Jon she knows in her heart is wonderfully written and stands out in the midst of those whose loyalties to lovers and country are often fleeting and of the moment. Rich in description with battle scenes as well detailed as the history that informs them, Stuart uses her research to enhance the story and richen the tale of Kate and Jon, while never losing that sense of love against the odds. With several twists and turns, wonderful character development and a few surprises, this story is a winner, ending just as the need to KNOW what will happen to Charles II is revealed. Not quite a cliffhanger for this story, but a nice lead in to the next in the series. I received an eBook copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.