Cover Image: Along Came A Soldier

Along Came A Soldier

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Two small villages in Cornwall, 1820 have been feuding for years after the murder of Charity Perrow's mother.  Jethro Ennor's father was accused but acquitted of the crime.  Now, Charity takes care of her father and brothers, but feels trapped in her home.  Jethro is a farrier who desperately wants to leave his violent and drunk father, but needs to wait until his little brother is of age.  While roaming the woods collecting mushroom for the town bonesetter, Charity and Jethro meet without knowing who the other is.  Even after they find out, Charity and Jethro can't stay away from one another.  However, another danger lurks in the woods.  Henry Blight, a returned soldier from Waterloo has come back to seek revenge against those who made him commit an unspeakable act years ago.  

Along Came A Soldier is a complex and intriguing historical murder mystery paired with romantic suspense. The characters were interesting and caught my attention early along with the tensions between the two towns.  Charity is caring and  adventurous.  Jethro is impulsive and rough around the edges.  Together,  Charity and Jethro make a perfect pair. Henry is haunted, showing signs of what we would call PTSD, but still wanted to right his wrong from the past making him a sympathetic villain.  I also loved Grace's knowledgeable, meddling and well-meaning character, although I don't know why her boobs had to be described every time she moved.  The mystery also pulled me along, though I had the gist of it pretty early, element were added to the very end for an unexpected and satisfying ending. 

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

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I’m a little bit lost as to what genre, exactly, this book is supposed to fit in. While there’s a central thread of a romance between Charity and Jethro, the book is way too gory to appeal to readers of historical romance. The absolutely horrific, and far too graphically described, death of a child frankly puts it squarely into horror, for me. In fact, considering the number of murders committed by a single perpetrator, I reckon it’s actually historical serial killer fiction, but with regular folks figuring out the mystery rather than agents or the police.

Set in Cornwall a few years after the Battle of Waterloo, most of the characters we meet are residents of two villages, St. Merryn and Penrose. Young farrier Jethro and maid Charity are caught up in a violent web of lies when returning soldier Harry begins a violent campaign against those who wronged him before he went away to war.

There are quite a few deaths in this book, and every one of them is nothing less than horrible. There’s also plenty of violence - Jethro’s father is a brute - a sexual predator who targets Charity, and a lot of gore. I was put in mind of the Thomas Hobbes quote about the life of man being ‘nasty, brutish and short’. If you’ve got a strong stomach (Gangrene! Maggots! Bleurgh!) then you might enjoy this as the rare historical fiction which features entirely the lives of the ‘common man’ rather than the aristocracy, but for me, it was just way too gory. Three stars.

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Will a years old feud be the end of their romance and threaten their life ...

This is an unusual read, a historical romance with a dark twist mixed with a sleuth tale. Even more out of the ordinary with more points of view than the classic main characters and eventual villain.
Why I was a bit confused at the beginning, Jethro and Charity are easy to follow, victims of their father’s ire and feud, but Henri, he lives many life at the same time, the past colliding with the present, his nightmares filing his days, his call for revenge meddling everything. Then there is Grace, the bonesetter who is the sleuth of this story, full of sass and knowledge, the heirloom of this inquiry.
And to these four protagonists, there are Joseph, a kind of autistic young man, Charity’s younger brother and William, an albino.
The book is in some way set in two parts, the presentation of the many characters and the development of the romance between Charity and Jethro, then the investigation post murder.
Jethro wants freedom like Charity, and while she, has a woman is encaged by the sex condition, he can’t run away until his younger brother comes of age.
Yet, both recognize a connected soul from their first encounter, and while their fathers’ hostility nearly tore them apart, they also understood they were not their parents. Charity finds the strength she was looking for in Jethro’s embrace when he for the first time feels like he is enough, deserving to be loved.

Grace, healer, midwife, bonesetter and kind of doctor for their small communities, is the link between the many characters, she observes and deduces. While living in the fringes, she is a very important character, the one everyone turns to when in need. She is also a very avid of life person, while she has loved and lost, she still devours life, with maybe a bit too much eagerness.
Then Henri, he is the villain I should hate but in fact I pity him, the true villains are the ghosts from his past. And while his revenge causes many damages, he also offers a kind of peace to his own demons and those he wronged.

Mrs Brenda Davies with this complex tale had me captivated, on wonder how she might save her heroes when everything looked lost.
4.5 stars for a very unconventional romance.

I was granted an advance copy by the author, here is my true and unbiased opinion.

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*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a free ARC in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I went into this book blindly, and it did not pay off. I was really confused in the beginning about the setting and if there was a supernatural element to the story. Later on, I got my answer, but instead of looking forward to the big reveal, I was questioning myself if I missed something the whole time. Overall, the direction of the plot is fine, but I just couldn't find the motivation to read. I ended up forcing myself to finish it.

It also found myself confused about whose perspective I was reading. I was constantly going back and forth to orient myself in the story. I also must have missed something in the beginning because I didn't know the village was near the ocean until chapter 4. As someone that doesn't live in the UK, I assumed Cornwall was in the USA. When I noted the spelling of "favourite," I did a Google search, and it all made sense.

Another struggle I had was really getting into the story. I had a hard time following along and getting interesting in the characters. There is nothing wrong with the characters, and they are well written, but I just couldn't bring myself to cheer them on. Halfway through, I realized this book just isn't for me.

My favorite part was definitely the forbidden romance aspect of the book. It gave off subtle Romeo and Juliet vibes at one point, but overall the story felt like its own.

Overall, if you are looking for a dark, historical fiction romance, then this one is for you.

+.5 Plot
+.5 Writing
+0 World-building
+.5 Organization
+1 Characters

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Maybe a little gory at times but overall pretty good story. Thank you netgalley and publisher for this arc in exchange of an honest review.

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Along Came a Soldier by Brenda Davies
2.5/5 rating
From the description:
A forbidden romance..
A village with hidden secrets..
An innocent man accused.. Set in 1820 Cornwall

Charity and Jethro fall in love, but their families are bitter enemies.
A redcoat comes back to town for revenge on the people responsible for the heavy burden he has been carrying around.
When a villager is murdered, Jethro is arrested. Charity must prove his innocence and save him from the gallows.

I thought this had everything I would want in a novel. Mystery, romance, and suspense. However, this fell flat for me. I felt like there was no character developement and the story was very rough. The romance wasn't that believable, within a few pages it went from the girl not wanting anything to do with the boy, to her not able to live without him. I know there are quick romances out there but the way this was done didn't work, in my opinion. The only thing that pushed me through was the bad guy and wanting to find out what was going to happen to him. Which ended up being very anticlimactic. This was just not for me. I hope someone does enjoy it.

Warning this story can be gory and also contains abuse.

I would like to thank Netgalley and BHC press for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

This is out on May 27th

#bookreview #bookletdown #ARC #bhcpress #Netgalley #books #newreleases #bookcommunity #bookstagram

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Thank you net galley for the advance reader copy of this novel. This was a historical fiction novel that I could not get into. I was not vested in the characters or the plot. I may try again on this one but my first attempt was not successful.

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