Thursday 11 June 2015

Review ~ Treason's Daughter by Antonia Senior

Atlantic Books
June 2015

The English Civil War pitted fathers against sons, brothers against brothers and whole families suffered as a result of a conflict which changed England forever. The cavalier army of King Charles I was no match against the rough and tumble of Cromwell's New Model Army.

The story opens in 1640 when Henrietta Challoner,  the beloved only daughter of  London merchant, Richard Challoner, is coming of age in a world where only sons really matter. However, Richard readily admits that his bright and beautiful daughter is more than a match for her brothers. When civil war beckons, the Challoner family face some tough decisions, and as father and sons find themselves on opposing sides, the prospects of the family looks decidedly grim and Henrietta is faced with an uncertain future.

What then follows is a compelling and beautifully written account of how the English civil war affected ordinary families. How daily living was turned upside down and of how the natural order of life was altered beyond repair. Henrietta is a feisty heroine, she is spirited and determined in the face of great danger. Her brother's Ned and Sam, both equally courageous, have difficult choices to make and it is their very different war experiences which add  depth to the story. Richard Challoner has his own very personal battle to face, which is equally disturbing.

The story draws you in from the beginning and conjures a time of great uncertainty. The politics of the time is explained well, with fine attention to detail and, if you have an interest in English history then this really is a compelling read.

Treason's Daughter is the author's debut novel. It it is interesting to learn that the she is already working on a sequel.

 My thanks to Alison Davies at Atlantic books for my copy of this book.


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