#BookReview — The Devil Take Tomorrow by Gretchen Jeannette
The Devil Take Tomorrow
By Gretchen Jeannette
George Washington has been marked for death. British agents embedded in the Continental Army wait only for the order to strike. Racing against time, rebel spy Ethan Matlock sets out to protect the one man who can save the Revolution. Without General Washington, the whole American enterprise might easily collapse, for no one else has demonstrated the ability to keep together an army that constantly threatens to fall apart.
Boldly Ethan infiltrates the heart of the British military, occupiers of grand old Philadelphia, where elegant officers posture in drawing rooms and frolic in the bedrooms of the rich. Surrounded by twenty thousand redcoats, aware that the slightest misstep could lead to the gallows, Ethan resorts to vicious measures to unravel a conspiracy of power-hungry men. Against his better judgment, he becomes entangled with the provocative Miss Maddie Graves, whose fierce devotion to the American cause ironically threatens his mission.
"Captain Parker's orders are to assassinate you by any available means…"
The letter may be anonymous, but the threat was real enough to send rebel spy, Ethan Matlock, behind enemy lines to foil such an attempt, for if George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army were to succumb to an assassin's bullet or blade, then that might bring an end to the revolution for independence.
All Ethan has to do is infiltrate the British military, and what better way to do that than by rescuing the honourable Robert Sinclair, a prominent merchant and a descendant of the British aristocracy, and his family from some pistol brandishing, rebel demons.
What Ethan had not prepared for was his sudden romantic feelings towards Sinclair's niece, Miss Maddie Graves. This was not the time nor the place for a passionate liaison, and it was certainly not wise to fall in love with such an impetuous and stubborn woman. The fate of a nation was in Ethan's hands. He must not lose sight of that.
The Devil Take Tomorrow by Gretchen Jeannette is a richly detailed and emotionally charged story from beginning to end. With a compelling narrative and the most eloquent of prose, this is a book that a reader can lose themselves in.
Jeannette evokes a strong sense of time and place in her writing — 18th Century Philadelphia has never been more alive to me. The historical world is fresh. It is vibrant. It is a richly coloured canvas of lobster red and navy along with lashings of taffeta, gilt lace, and silk. A richly woven tapestry indeed, where the senses come alive as the story envelops the reader in all of its splendidness. The characters walk a fine line between the truth and oh so glorious lies. Who is for the King? Who is for independence? Who can be trusted? And who can not? It is a story of war, of heroism, of adventure and desperate tragedy, but above everything else, it is a sprawling, stirringly passionate love story that swept me off my feet and left me breathless.
Jeannette's attention to the historical detail, her commitment to depicting the tragedy as well as the heroism which occurred during the American Revolution, has to be commended. Jeannette shows her readers the sacrifice that war demanded of the people of America and Britain during this turbulent time in American history. Jeannette is the kind of author that makes history come alive. There is a realism to this book that is tangible. Add to this an understanding of her audience and what makes a book entertaining means that The Devil Take Tomorrow is utterly triumphant.
I adored the characterisation of Miss Maddie Graves. Maddie has suffered terribly because of this war, and she is now under the guardianship of the last man her father would have wanted to look out for her interests. Maddie, who is resolute in carrying on where her father left off, made this book immensely compelling. Maddie is a very strong woman, who is steadfast in her decisions and will not be bullied into submission — despite, her uncle's best efforts. At times her inability to not get involved lands her in a whole heap of trouble and there were several times when I really feared for her safety because of her foolhardiness. However, Maddie was a wonderful heroine whose story is vastly entertaining.
The hero of this illustrious tale of love and war is Ethan Matlock. Ethan has his fair share of ghosts to vanquish in this book, but he is also a man on a mission. He is a spy behind enemy lines. Ethan uses his wit and charm to earn himself a trusted position within the British military in Philadelphia. Men admire him, and women fall over themselves to be with him, all of which he uses to his advantage. Ethan is, however, a ruthless man when it comes to his enemies, and there are some scenes in this book where Ethan calls upon that ruthlessness, which made for some challenging reading. However, underneath the facade is a man who feels very deeply and has to make some terribly difficult choices which really broke my heart. Ethan's relationship with Maddie was a welcomed relief from the horrors of war. However, Maddie is not the kind of woman to listen to reason. She is ruled entirely by her emotions and is a constant source of worry for Ethan. I thought Ethan's depiction was brilliant.
There are several secondary characters in this book, and they each have their role to play in this story, but one character that stood out for me was Captain Paul Loxley. Loxley has more reason to hate General Howe than anyone, but still he serves in the British Army. Loxley is a complex character who often acts before thinking and is never really sure of himself. He is a protagonist one moment and antagonist the next before becoming a protagonist again. He is a very richly drawn character who brings an awful lot to this story and helps to drive it forward.
The Devil Take Tomorrow by Gretchen Jeannette is enchanting, engrossing, and exhilarating. Jeannette is an incredibly gifted author who is fast becoming one of my favourites.
I Highly Recommend.
Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.
Pick up your copy of
The Devil Take Tomorrow
Gretchen Jeannette was born in 1955 in Wilmington, Delaware. She lives and works in Chester County, Pennsylvania, an area rich in Revolutionary War and Colonial American history. Her enduring interest in 18th Century America began at a young age, inspired by the novels of Dale Van Every and Allan Eckert, whose timeless tales of adventure and romance capture the essence of early American lore. Eager to read more such stories, to her disappointment she had trouble finding them on bookshelves, so she decided to write one of her own. Thus began a journey fueled by her passion for breathing life into history through believable characters, authentic historical details, and plots woven with adventure, romance and suspense.