Monday 1 November 2021

πŸ“– Featured Book of the Month ~ The Swift and the Harrier by Minette Walters

Allen and Unwin

Published in Hardback and Ebook on 4 November 2021

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

Dorset, 1642. When bloody civil war breaks out between the King and Parliament, families and communities across England are riven by different allegiances.

A rare few choose neutrality.

One such is Jayne Swift, a Dorset physician from a Royalist family, who offers her services to both sides in the conflict. Through her dedication to treating the sick and wounded, regardless of belief, Jayne becomes a witness to the brutality of war and the devastation it wreaks.

Yet her recurring companion at every event is a man she should despise because he embraces civil war as the means to an end. She knows him as William Harrier, but is ignorant about every other aspect of his life. His past is a mystery and his future uncertain.

The Swift and the Harrier is a sweeping tale of adventure and loss, sacrifice and love, with a unique and unforgettable heroine at its heart.

πŸ“– My Thoughts..

In the summer of 1642, Jane Swift is on her way to tend to a sick child when she inadvertently gets caught up in the dreadful events taking place in Dorchester as the city is swept up in a fervour of unrest and Puritan retribution. Not wanting to witness the harrowing execution of Catholic priests,  Jane waits in the doorway of the house of Lady Alice Strickland where she comes into contact, not only with the formidable Lady Alice, but also with William Harrier who is Alice's footman. This momentous meeting between two strong women will have long reaching repercussions as both Jane Swift in her role as a female physician and Lady Alice Srickland's forthright nature are a combined force which cannot be ignored. The enigmatic Harrier has his own dangerous path to tread, and is one which will have far reaching repercussions for all of them.

When the story opens in 1642 the English Civil war is bubbling under the surface. There is widespread discontent against a King who refuses to listen to his advisors and who will not be moved to compassion by the plight of his people. War is inevitable and with meticulous research and fine attention to detail this troubled period in history comes to vivid, and dramatic, life.

I enjoyed walking alongside Jane Swift, she's a strong and decisive character, more than a match for any man who blocks her path and her true calling as a skilled physician is certainly put to the test as the Civil War battles get underway. Jane's complex relationship with William Harrier is fascinating, both are willful, determined and with right on their side, unstoppable however, Harrier's chameleon like nature means that we never really know what he is going to do next. And that's what makes this story such a fascinating read.

Authentically written with all the skill and passion which this talented writer brings to the literary table. I loved The Swift and the Harrier and am delighted to make it my Featured Book of the Month for November.

The Swift and the  Harrier is published by Allen and Unwin on the 4 November and is available to buy in hard back and ebook from all good book shops.

Minette Walters is one of the world's best-selling crime writers. She is the author of twelve novels, winning the CWA John Creasey Award for The Ice House, the Edgar Allan Poe Award in America for The Sculptress and two CWA Gold Daggers for The Scold's Bridle and Fox Evil. The Last Hours and The Turn of Midnight mark an exciting new direction for Minette. She lives in Dorset with her husband.

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