February 16, 2012

Review, #Giveaway & Author Guest Post: The Turning of Anne Merrick by Christine Blevins


A tale of love and espionage from the author of Midwife of the Blue Ridge...

She spies for General Washington, betrays the Redcoats and battles for America's independence...

It's 1777, and a fledgling country wages an almost hopeless struggle against the might of the British Empire. Brought together by a fateful kiss, Anne Merrick and Jack Hampton are devoted to each other and to their Patriot cause. As part of Washington's daring network of spies, they are ready and willing to pay even the ultimate price for freedom.

From battlefields raging along the Hudson, to the desperate winter encampment at Valley Forge and through the dangerous intrigue of British-occupied Philadelphia, Anne and Jack brave the trials of separation, the ravages of war and an unyielding enemy growing ever more ruthless.

For love and for country, all is put at risk-and together the pair must call upon their every ounce of courage and cunning in order to survive.


I can't tell you how many times I have wished that I had access to a time machine and journey back in time.  While this is impossible, I am glad that there are creative writers like Christine Blevins who can paint a portrait of what it would be like to live in historical times.  I felt as if I were right there experiencing everything with Anne.  The Turning of Anne Merrick is an action-filled piece of art!  If you like historical romance novels, this is one of the best that you will ever read.


In my quest for the wonderful tidbits required to make a historical novel come alive, I often bump into a tasty morsel altogether unrelated to what I am seeking, but compelling nonetheless. So what do I do when this happens? I jot it down.

Evidently, sometime during in the course of research for my debut novel, Midwife of the Blue Ridge (an adventure set in 1763), and amid notes regarding 18th century ocean travel and life aboard a sailing ship, I jotted down this completely unrelated fact:

Really? New York City had been occupied by the British Army for seven years?

Boston and Philadelphia are the large cities that spring to mind when you think about the American Revolution. New York – not so much. I was surprised the city had been occupied by the British enemy for seven years. Not only did I jot the fact down – I double bubbled it!

Once I completed the manuscript Midwife of the Blue Ridge, I set out to get it published. This difficult process begins with first finding a literary agent willing to take on an uncredentialed and unpublished author. One does this by sending out query letters and sample pages, and suffering many, many rejections and much disappointment. At one fairly low point, I was organizing my research materials seriously thinking about giving up on writing, I ran across the bubbled note again.

New York City had been occupied by the British Army for seven years?

We Americans begin learning about the birth of our nation from the moment we gaze in wonder at a firework display at our first Fourth of July celebration. Between kindergarten and high school, a multitude of significant events, the battles and the stories of our forefathers – all of this history becomes etched on, and sometimes lost, in the wrinkles of our brains.

I reread the note and turned to the internet to recover what I had lost, and began  to unearthed things I didn’t ever know. I became swept up in the American Revolution – swept up in the confusion and fervor of that extraordinary time in our history. A story began to coalesce in my mind, somewhat mimicking what was happening to me. This began with the tale of an ordinary woman – not the daughter, or wife or mistress or maid of any historically famous man –  just a woman who gets swept up by remarkable events taking place around her. 
It’s hard for me to describe the complete evolution of this story, but it became apparent once I began the deep research, the story I envisioned would require more than one book. The bubbled note I had written years before became the embryo of a three book series set during the American Revolution.

Anne Merrick’s adventure begins in The Tory Widow with a celebratory kiss from a handsome young stranger. Against a New York City backdrop of civil strife, revolution, and war, Anne discovers her true ideals, and true love.

In The Turning of Anne Merrick, as the war drags on and the Patriot cause appears evermore hopeless, Anne’s resolve and core purpose is tempered and tested at Saratoga, Valley Forge, and in British occupied Philadelphia.

Author Christine Blevins writes what she loves to read – historical adventure stories. The Turning of Anne Merrick is the second in a 3-book series set during the American Revolution, and the companion book to The Tory Widow. A native Chicagoan, Christine lives in Elmhurst, Illinois, along with her husband Brian, and The Dude, a very silly golden-doodle. She is at work finishing the third novel inspired by a lifelong fascination with the foundations of American history and the revolutionary spirit.

Visit Christine's website

Giveaway: Bayberry Candle Bundle – these sheets and envelopes are perfect for scrieving all manner of treason. The bundle is supplied with a quill pen and wrapped for convenient stowing amidst your gear.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.


Beth said...

The author hunts for fiddlehead ferns at her home in Michigan! My mom loved those!

bethsbookreviewblog2 AT gmail DOT com

Marie said...

I learned that this is the second book in her American revolution series so I'll need to look for the first one!


Bethie said...

She was an avid reader as a child.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

sandy1955 said...

It is the latest novel & 2nd in American Revolution series
sandy1955 at comcast dot net

momma8385 said...

I learned that Ms. Christine grow up in a small neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. Her love with the past began with books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Louisa May Alcott.
Thank you for this wonderful giveaway.
:) Jeanne

holdenj said...

I think it's interesting that some genealogical research led to the first Blue Ridge story and that she had Daniel Boone like ancestors!

Andrea said...

This is the third book Christine has written.


Birdhouse Books said...

Christine has a great website! I love historical fiction and love this quote from Christine's site:

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
–L.P. Hartley


Theresa N. said...

She grew up on the southside of Chicago.
Theresa N

mamabunny13 said...

I learned that the author grew up in the southside of Chicago.

bison61 said...

she lives with her husband and their golden-doodle, splitting her time between their home in Elmhurst, and tramping the northern woodlands for fiddlehead ferns, morel mushrooms at their lake house in Michigan.

tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

amy2011 said...

I liked how friendly and funny this author came cross as on her blog if that shows anything about her I cant wit to read her book!

jodi nicole said...

i learned that she lived in Chicago and this is her third book

Maureen said...

Christine is inspired by travel and history.

Lilian said...

I learned she grew up in Chicago!and this is her 3rd book~

Lilian said...

button posted on circustoybox.blogspot.com

Margie said...

Christine draws inspiration from travel and history, and still spends a good amount of time reading, storing up details for her stories.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com