Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Book Review: Duking Days Revolution by Anita Davison

Duking Days Revolution by Anita Davison

One of the most horrific times in England's history began in 1685. They people dubbed this era "Duking Days" because it all began when Charles II's illegitimate protestant son, the Duke of Monmouth, and 81 of his men sailed into Lyme Regis harbour accompanied to wrest the British crown from his uncle, James II. The Duke of Monmouth managed to gather 6000 to help him fight for his cause. Poorly armed and badly disciplined the rebels seized Somerset. The rebels declared Monmouth 'King' in Taunton market place.

During the battle of Sedgemoor, Monmouth's army failed. The King Charles' men captured Monmouth cowering in a ditch and brought him to trial. The King executed Monmouth for leading the rebellion. Even so, the bloodshed continued. The King executed hundreds of rebels and transported hundreds more to the West Indies to toil on the sugar plantations.

The brutality and blood-spattered aftermath of the battle of Sedgemoor continues to haunt England to this very day. Stories of ghosts abound to this very day. This cruel period compelled author Anita Davidson to pen a novel about a family who struggled to survive during these desperate times.

In Duking Days Revolution, the sequel to Duking Days Rebellion, Helena Woulfe Palmer settles into a new life. Her husband, Guy Palmer, a London Goldsmith Banker, flourishes in business. Trapped in an unhappy marriage, Guy and Helena allow their weaknesses for others turn into unwise liaisons.

Helena's father, Sir Jonathan Woulfe, Helena's father is still missing, his fate unknown.

Her elder brother, Aaron, continues to plot against the Catholic James II. Helena is grows ever fearful for Aaron and longs for him to come home again. Her wish is soon fulfilled. Helena is reunited with Aaron, who not only becomes a member of the new royal court, but also strives to regain their family estates lost during the rebellion.

Her younger brother, Henry enjoys a quiet life as an apprentice to an architect, but suffers greatly when he falls in love with his employer’s daughter, Mary Ann Newman. Mary also loves Henry, but she must enter into an arranged marriage to someone else.

Dark secrets, mystery, and turmoil continue to plague the siblings as they each strive in their own way to carve a new life from the destruction of the revolution. The novel culminates with a poignant ending that leaves the reader both contented and crying out for more.

Anita Davidson has captured the tumultuous period with spirit, accuracy, and brilliant writing. Her characters each struggle to find their own way, with plenty of dark secrets and danger to curse their path. Impeccable research and detail mark this novel as a "must read" for everyone who is interested in this era and who wants to experience how the politics of the time affected individual citizens and forever altered so many innocent and not so innocent lives.

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