"Gretchen Jeannette's A Devil of a Time goes well beyond expectation. This is adventure at the finest level." December 2014
Young adult and older fans of American history, historical fiction, romance and war, will find A Devil of a Time by Gretchen Jeannette compelling and more intriguing with every turn of the page. Staged during the Revolutionary War, the excitement builds in this riveting follow-up to The Devil Take Tomorrow, with brilliant storytelling and believable characters. This is adventure at the finest level, wrapped up in a history lesson one will not soon forget. With all the twists and turns, Jeannette's writing is incredibly gripping. Yet, with all of the fantastic imagery and the well-woven story, the air of realism is never lost. Instead, the tale is grounded in true-to-life emotions and events during this tremendously important time of change in the past. Those aware of the tales of yesteryear would have some sense of the ending, and yet, this story goes so far beyond expectations that it does not cease to be suspenseful and thrilling.
The history involved is well researched, the characters are interesting and complex, and the details Jeannette uses to permeate every inch of the book make for a rich story, building with elegance. Audiences will find themselves drawn to the hero, and interest will be peaked by the Revolutionary War as it is shown. A Devil of a Time is unpredictable and satisfying, with a setting gorgeously painted by Gretchen Jeannette's writing style. Despite the complexity of the storytelling, the book is easy to read and intellectually absorb, which makes the experience all the more enjoyable. A Devil of a Time goes well beyond expectation, giving the reader a brilliant imagining of romance and battle right alongside a detailed historical tale. A title such as Gretchen Jeannette's belongs on the reader's home bookshelf, and in the hands of friends to be discussed and read again.
"This truly is an exemplary piece of work, and I cannot recommend it highly enough."
A Devil of a Time tells the story of Captain Niall McLane--a murder suspect with a reputation as a ruthless scalphunter that does not lessen the suspicion against him. As the true killer runs rampant, Niall becomes trapped in a love triangle with his drunken friend, Andrew, and Andrew's wife, Clarice. What ensues is a sweeping tale of mystery, romance, and danger amidst the backdrop of Virginia in the 1700's.
The first thing that will strike you about this book is the immaculate writing quality with a wonderful flow that lends to the epic feel. The time period has been authentically captured, and each location is so tangible that your imagination will truly be taken on an adventure. The settings alone are enough reason to read the book, but it is the fantastic plot and interplay between the three characters that really bring this novel up to the gold standard.
The trio have a charisma that makes them jump out of the page, such is the quality of the dialogue, and the way the author builds suspense all the way to the dramatic climax makes this one hell of a fulfilling read.
I understand this is only Gretchen Jeannette's second novel, yet she displays the hallmarks of a master of her craft. This truly is an exemplary piece of work and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
"This gripping tale will keep you on the edge of your seat." July 2015
Set towards the end of the Revolutionary War, A Devil of a Time by Gretchen Jeannette introduces the reader to the invading British army’s effects on Colonial America. The author mixes romance with historical fiction and mystery to create a captivating story.
Clarice Wade is a young mother and mistress of a struggling tobacco plantation in Williamsburg, VA. Her husband, Andrew, is plagued by demons of his past and has taken to the bottle to drown his sorrows. An old friend of Andrew’s, Niall McLane, a disgraced war veteran, enters into the young couple’s lives. Soon a bizarre love triangle ensues between Clarice, her husband, and Niall. Add a deranged serial killer to the mix, and you have a tale that keeps you guessing! Niall McLane made his fame as a brutal fighter during the war. He is now under suspicion of killing innocent people. Is he the killer? Will he be arrested or can he clear his name?
The setting is lovely. The author gracefully weaves aspects of the time period into the story, from medicine to the hardships of running a tobacco farm, to the effects of the war on the land and people. We also see what it is like to be a woman in the late 1700’s; she at the mercy of her husband’s whims. I found these aspects really interesting and informative; I loved learning about the details of the everyday lives of people during this period.
The characters are well developed and stay true to form throughout the story. The most tragic is that of Andrew. The author did a great job of showing redemption of this character in particular. I alternated between hating him and feeling sorry for him, which I believe was the author’s intention. The budding romantic relationship between Niall and Clarice was well written and exciting.
The plot is thoroughly developed and paced appropriately. I found myself on the edge of my seat for most of the book. I would put the book down and then immediately pick it up again. The ending was along the lines of what I expected but I really enjoyed the twists and turns that the plot took to get there. There is intense action and violence, including flashbacks of the characters’ pasts that give the reader insight into their current actions. These were some of my favorite parts of the book, as it really built the characters into believable people.
Seeing the killer’s motivations and the other characters’ obliviousness made me want to scream. I think that the author’s move to reveal the killer early on instead of making it a mystery was a great one. It was chilling to read about this person’s thought process!
Themes include trauma and war, alcoholism, domestic violence, and mental illness. These are things that people still struggle with today. These issues brought the time period into perspective, as people haven’t changed that much.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. Fans of historical fiction, crime, and especially romance will find much to like in this gripping tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end!
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"Powerful characters that are capable of seducing readers and owning their hearts."
Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
A Devil of a Time by Gretchen Jeannette is fiction with powerful characters that are capable of seducing readers and owning their hearts. Yes, I mean just that! Captain Niall McLane might think he has survived the worst that could happen to any man, but his captivity is just the beginning of his woes. There is a killer on the loose and it just happens that Niall becomes one of the prime suspects. To make matters worse, the killer seems to target those closest to Niall. Now with suspicions against him, Niall has to use his wit and skills to stay out of jail while working hard to find the killer before he strikes again. This could sound like an ordinary story; a cliché in crime fiction, but there is a gorgeous twist that will take readers by surprise — there is a woman who changes the plot entirely.
I adored this book, and there is no overstatement in this! Gretchen Jeannette is an author with the rare skill that allows her to combine fiction with historical references to weave a tale that will mesmerize readers. Niall is a character that readers will love, and the presence of a drunk with a gorgeous wife in the story will create a lot of suspense and interest. The writing is graceful, somewhat evocative, and absorbing; the narrative voice is clear and tantalizing. I enjoyed how the author uses suspense to toy with the emotions of readers. I enjoyed the perfect development of conflict, which escalates quickly. A Devil of a Time is a page-turner, really hard to put down. Great storyline, compelling characters.
"An excellent work of historical fiction." January 2017
Tracy Slowiak for Readers' Favorite
In an excellent work of historical fiction by author Gretchen Jeannette, A Devil of a Time is a story that will pull readers in from the very start and keep them obsessively turning the pages all the way through to the very end! Follow the story of Captain Niall McLane, a man who has been scarred by his experiences in the Revolutionary War, including that of being held captive. When he survives all that only to be accused of a murder he didn’t commit, he’s left feeling that all might be lost. His background as an Indian scalp hunter certainly doesn’t help his cause, and few stand with him, especially when the real murderer appears to be targeting those he holds closest. The only allies that Niall has left are Andrew and Clarice Wade. Andrew is tormented by his own demon, namely alcohol, and Niall lives with a secret love for Clarice, complicating their relationship even more. When Niall realizes that the murderer may be setting his sights on Clarice as his next victim, he’s determined to solve this mystery, save his beloved, and exonerate himself once and for all. Will he succeed in his mission or die trying? You’ll need to read the book to find out!
I very much enjoyed A Devil of a Time. Author Gretchen Jeannette has done a fantastic job in creating characters that her readers will connect with, relate to, and truly come to care about. If that isn’t a hallmark of a great author, I’m not sure what is. Her settings are realistic and believable, and history buffs and the average reader alike will appreciate her attention to detail. Any reader who enjoys historical fiction, action, adventure, mysteries, romance, or just a great read of fiction in general should definitely grab this book. I am very pleased to highly recommend A Devil of a Time, and look forward to reading more from the talented author, Gretchen Jeannette, as soon as I possibly can!
"A tale of the darkness of the soul, redemption and recovery." January 2017
Sherri Fulmer Moorer for Readers' Favorite
In America's early days during the Revolutionary War, more battles emerge outside of the battlefield. Niall McLane escapes Shawnee Indian captivity to fight in the war, only to have his post-traumatic stress get the better of him. While wandering through Virginia in search of life after his discharge, he runs into an old friend from the battlefield: Andrew Wade, a plantation owner who turned into a drunkard after abandoning the battle and later losing his son. He hopes that Niall can bring him back to life and save his crumbling marriage to Clarice, his beautiful wife. But when murders take place in the town, Niall is immediately suspected because of his dark past. What unfolds is a tale of the darkness of the soul, redemption, and recovery. A Devil of a Time by Gretchen Jeannette is an exciting historical tale of mystery, intrigue, and romance.
This is the first historical novel I've read in a long time, and I was greatly impressed. Gretchen Jeannette weaves an intriguing tale that's not only historically accurate, but interesting and captivating. Clarice and Andrew are especially interesting as their attempt to cope with Andrew's injury and the loss of their son spirals them in different directions. Niall provides an interesting contrast as he attempts to conquer his demons not through drink (as Andrew does), but through rebuilding his life, despite the expectations of others. The romantic tension created by this triangle against the backdrop of the struggling owners and plantation provide a mesmerizing tale of intrigue. A Devil of a Time is a great novel that will keep you reading through the last page, and wishing for more.
"An intoxicating historical fiction novel that will fascinate the reader from the first page." February 2017
Samantha Dewitt (Rivera) for Readers' Favorite
A Devil of a Time by Gretchen Jeannette is an intriguing historical fiction novel set at the end of the Revolutionary War era. Captain Niall McLane had a gruesome past with the Shawnee Indians. He has devoted his life to making them pay for the savage and sadistic acts they committed against his father. Niall has made a name and reputation for himself in regards to his fierce and ruthless pursuance of his enemies. With his combat experience and his innate abilities for tracking, hunting and capturing his prey, Captain Niall McLane is an asset to the Continental Army. However, after a battle is won and Niall temporarily loses his reason, he resigns his commission from the army. His reputation behind him, Niall is considered slightly unbalanced and dangerous. Andrew Wade, a veteran of wilderness warfare waged along the Ohio River in Kentucky, and one of Niall's comrades knows better. Andrew hires Niall as a foreman for his failing tobacco plantation. While helping Andrew and Clarice, Andrew's enchanting wife, get their plantation back on its feet, a grisly murder is committed, and Niall is the Sheriff's chief suspect. Clarice and Andrew are two of a few who really know Niall, but with evidence pointing at Niall and in light of his murderous reputation, how can they prove that he is innocent?
A Devil of a Time by Gretchen Jeannette is an intoxicating historical fiction novel that will fascinate the reader from the first page. Seduced by the irresistible characters, the reader is caught and held ensnared by the developing intrigue of the storyline. As the story unfolds, the plot builds to a dramatic and stunning climax and comes to an impeccable conclusion. It is a suspenseful and thrilling story filled with drama from a pivotal era in history. It contains twists and turns that include murder, seduction, loyalty, and romance. It is an excellent portrayal of heroism shown in trying times by moral characters. This is an exceptional historical fiction novel that will delight adult readers who love intrigue. It is more suited for those over the age of sixteen due to the sensual content and a few indelicate words.
"I can easily give this book my highest recommendation." January 2017
Chris Fischer for Readers' Favorite
Author Gretchen Jeannette, in A Devil of a Time, offers her readers an exciting and adventurous tale of love, mystery and intrigue; one that many will find difficult to put down once they start it. Protagonist Captain Niall McLane, a man with a dark past, filled with his days battling in the Revolutionary War as well as his time as a brutal Indian fighter and scalp taker, finds himself in a fight for his life that he never could have anticipated. He's being accused of a savage murder and has few willing to stand up for him. His only friends, drunk Andrew Wade and Andrew's wife, Clarice, whom Niall secretly loves, are willing to help him, but Niall soon realizes that they will likely come to harm from the real murderer if they remain close to him. Niall is willing to do anything he can to keep Clarice safe and knows he will need to find and confront the real killer before it's too late.
A Devil of a Time is truly a great work of historical fiction, and this comes from a reader who reads a lot of it. Author Gretchen Jeannette has done a great job of providing well researched and historically accurate details to make her story feel very authentic. Her characters are vividly drawn and very compelling, especially lead character, Niall McLane. Readers who enjoy historical fiction will really enjoy this book. Other readers who like mysteries or exciting reads will also find that this book has a lot to offer. I can easily give this book my highest recommendation and will look for more work by author Gretchen Jeannette as well!