Book Review: The Traitor’s Wife by Kathleen Kent

20 Dec

Genre: Historical fiction

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (Reagan Arthur Books/ Back Bay Books)

Pub date: 26 Sep 2011

Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Synopsis (From NetGalley)

In the harsh wilderness of colonial Massachusetts, Martha Allen is forced to work as a servant in her cousin’s household. She takes charge of the neglected home and locks wills with those around her – including the unusually tall and silent Thomas Carrier, who also labors for the family and is known both for his immense strength and mysterious past.

As Martha comes to know him, she falls in love – and the two begin a courtship that suits their independent natures. She can confide the dark secrets of her youth, and Thomas slowly reveals the role he played in the English Civil War. But in the rugged new world they inhabit, danger is ever-present, whether it be from the assassins sent from London to kill the executioner of Charles I or the wolves – in many forms – who hunt for blood.


I’ve heard a lot about The Heretic’s Daughter, and The Traitor’s Wife is the prequel which fleshes out the back story of some of the same characters. The Traitor’s Wife is a historical novel with an intense love story at its centre. Martha is fast approaching an age where she might become an old maid. Her contrary and opinionated ways make her an unattractive prospect to all the men around except Thomas Carrier who finds her strength attractive. But Thomas is a man with deep and dangerous secrets, so can he let down his guard and let Martha into his life?

Martha is a hardworking woman with a good head on her shoulders. But because she doesn’t hesitate to speak her mind, she despairs of ever getting married. Her father sends her away to her cousin’s house where she takes over the household duties and provides companionship to her cousin’s wife who is expecting her third child.

Thomas has managed to keep his head down and keep suspicion away, but is always ever that danger could be around the corner. Meanwhile Charles II is determined to track down the traitors who beheaded his father, especially Thomas Morgan, the man who wielded the axe. He sends mercenaries to Massachusetts to kill Thomas and exact revenge. As Martha and Thomas start to get to know each other, and Thomas tells her about his dark past, events start to catch up to them.

Like any good historical fiction, The Traitor’s Wife evokes the period in which it is set very well. From secluded New England to Charles II’s revenge-filled reign, the story Kent writes deftly of politics and romance.

For me though, the romanctic part of this story was not all that interesting. I liked the historical aspects of the story that were woven in especially the English Civil War. But on the whole, I couldn’t get into the story. While I enjoyed the historical elements and the writing itself, for me this book didn’t come together completely.


Recommended for fans of historical fiction. Fans of The Heretic’s Daughter will also enjoy knowing more about the characters in that story.

Rating: 3.25*

See my Rating policy

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3 Responses to “Book Review: The Traitor’s Wife by Kathleen Kent”

  1. Elisabeth Storrs December 21, 2011 at 4:34 am #

    Thanks for the review. The idea of royal revenge extending to the New World sounds interesting. The Stuarts were not known for their mercy. The lawyer who successfully brought the case to have Charles I beheaded eventually was hanged, drawn and quartered himself.
    Have a good Christmas 🙂


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