Monday, April 7, 2014

G290 Book Review of Serpents in the Garden by Anna Belfrage

Name of Book: Serpents in the Garden

Author: Anna Belfrage

ISBN: 978-1-78132-173-7

Publisher: Silverwood Books Empowered Publishing

Part of a Series: The Graham Saga

Type of book: 1676-1681?, England, sailing, handfasting, affairs, Maryland colony, time travel, slavery, marriage, relationships, family, farming

Year it was published: 2014

Summary:

'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.

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?

Characters:

Due to many characters, I honestly had trouble figuring out who's who, and I would ask if it might be possible for the author to make a character cheat sheet of sorts where it will be easier to keep track of who's who. Some characters did seem change throughout the novel, but others have stayed the same, in particular Matt and Alex, although I imagine that Matt had changed a lot in the last four books. The story is more plot driven rather than character driven and I look forward to reading and learning more about the characters.

Theme:

You never know where life will take you

Plot:

Its written in third person narrative from what seems to be everyone's point of view, although when there is a point of view switch, there is warning. I often feel that the book is plot driven rather than character driven, but I do admit that I do want to read further and find out what happens. Snippets from past books are given, but besides that, the book is a bit purposely vague and is where one wants to read the previous four books before reading this one.

Author Information:
(From Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour)

I 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 onTwitter.
Opinion:

Before I begin, I would first of all like to make an apology for not taking the time to read the first four books, but I promise that I will do so as soon as possible. Reading this book made me hungry to read the others and to get caught up on the how and why everything has happened. (I do promise that it will make you want to do it) Because of that impediment, I had a struggle with figuring out who's who (aside from Matthew and Alex,) and their stories as well as what's going on in the story. I think if you did read previous books, then this might go into a 4.5 territory because the time is fascinating as well as the culture. I also think that it tends to be sort of a safe read. Most of the time I saw family relationships at work, and when events did enter, they didn't deter from the relationships between family members. At least that's my opinion.

This is for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour


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



4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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