The Swift and the Harrier

Blackstone. Jul. 2022. 590p. ISBN 9798200913015. $29.99. F
Readers who are initially alarmed at the page count of Walters’s (“Last Hours” series) latest historical novel will come to the end and wonder why the story couldn’t have gone on longer. During the English Civil War in 1642, families and friends are divided between the warring Parliamentarians and Royalists. Jayne, daughter of Royalists, was already a respected physician who treated the wealthy and the poor. She chooses neutrality to continue her work, treating persons from both sides. While on her way to help a sick child, Jayne’s chance meeting with Lady Alice Stickland and her mysterious footman, William Harrier, kicks off a series of events that present Jayne with difficult choices she never expected, with joy and sorrow coming in equal measure. Walters’s characters are true to their historical period, yet relatable to a modern audience, and notable historical figures and events are described accurately in detail—informative and full of dramatic tension. An author’s note provides a brief summation of the book’s era, and there are maps for better understanding.
VERDICT Endearing characters spark life into centuries-old history in Walters’s latest, which will appeal to fans of Philippa Gregory, Margaret George, and Sharon Kay Penman.
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