The Wolves of Andover by Kathleen Kent

The Wolves of Andover
By Kathleen Kent

Hardcover, $24.99
320 pages
Reagan Arthur Books, November 8, 2010

It’s 1692 and the United States as we know it does not exist. We were still a group of colonies and young Martha Allen had just arrived at her cousin’s home in Billerica, Massachusetts. Martha is not a guest. She’s expected to help her cousin Patience through her pregnancy and also do the work of a servant around the house and the farm. Nineteen-year-old Martha is strong willed and has a sharp tongue, and will soon be an “old maid.” She knows only too well the fate awaits a single woman with no place to call her own. Also working on the property is Thomas Carrier, a man rumored to be a regicide hiding in plain site in Billerica.  Thomas fits the physical description of supposed executioner of Charles I.

In Kathleen Kent’s second book, The Wolves of Andover, we meet the young Martha whose later life story was told to us in Kent’s first book, The Heretic’s Daughter, which follows Martha as she stood trial at the Salem witch hunts. 

Author Kathleen Kent is a direct descendant of the real life Martha Allen Carrier and I believe she does her family well.  These books are technically described as historical fiction, however I think that is a disservice to Kent’s work. She tells a story that pays homage not only to Kent’s nine times great grand-mother, Martha, but also to all of our ancestors who lived in those dangerous times and places. They knew no modern conveniences and considered surviving a tough winter or childbirth to be good fortune.

The book’s title, The Wolves of Andover, not only refers to the wild wolves that circle the settlements to stalk and prey on whatever they can kill, but to the wolves who walk on two feet who also stalk their unfortunate prey.

Told against the background of the wilderness of “new” England, Kent spins a very readable tale of survival of the fittest, survival of the smartest, and survival of those who will not be beaten. 

I highly recommend The Wolves of Andover!  I encourage you to get past the idea that you don’t like historical fiction. This book won’t disappoint. The story of Martha Allen and Thomas Carrier is in many ways the same struggle men and women face with today:  how to find a place in the world in which to be happy and safe. I loved this book and these people.

If I gave a star rating, I’d give this book a very strong 4 ½ stars.

Source: This book was provided to me by the publisher at my request and in no way affected by review.  

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