Saturday, January 14, 2017

703 (2017 #1). Queen of Swords

by Sara Donati

After finishing the fourth book in Sara Donati's Wilderness series, which ended with a cliffhanger, I couldn't wait to start the next book.

Fire Along the Sky ended with Jennet Scott Huntar, the Bonners' distant cousin from Scotland, being kidnapped near a British prison for Americans captured in the War of 1812 - just as Jennet's love, Luke Bonner, helps his younger half-brother Daniel Bonner escape the prison, with the help of his half-sister Hannah Bonner.  All Jennet is able to leave behind as clues are a couple of tarot cards, one of which is the Queen of Swords.  (It's never explained what message Jennet was trying to send, but it is pretty clear to me that Hannah is the Queen, and she is the major character in this book.)

Queen of Swords begins nearly a year later, with Jennet's rescue in the French Antilles in August 1814.  Jennet gave birth to Luke's son, Nathaniel, while in captivity, but sent him away, supposedly to safety, with a man called HonorĂ© Poiterin.  Stopping first in Haiti and then in Pensacola, Florida, the Bonners learn Poiterin and his formidable grandmother are claiming Nathaniel as his own, and have taken him to New Orleans.  So of course the Bonners go there, setting up the story to intersect with the Battle of New Orleans in January 1815.

Other than a few letters, and an appearance by a couple at the end, the Bonner family back in Paradise, New York, and in Montreal play little part in this book.  Jennet and Hannah both endure assaults, and Hannah reunites with an old friend from her New York days, Dr. Paul Savard, and meets his half-brother Ben, of mixed race like herself.  You can probably predict where that goes.

Nevertheless, it's an exciting book, and I learned a little about the Battle of New Orleans and some of the real people connected with it, who appear as characters in this book:  Andrew Jackson, Edward Livingston and his wife Louise, and Jacques VillerĂ© and his son Gabriel.

I'm looking forward to the final book in the series, and finding out what happens to the rest of the Bonner clan and their friends.

© Amanda Pape - 2017

[The book was borrowed from and returned to my local public library.]

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