Captain Niall McLane survives brutal captivity and a bloody revolution only to face a darker threat to his future with the woman he loves. When Niall becomes a suspect in a grotesque murder, his reputation as a merciless Indian fighter and scalphunter turns public opinion against him. Worse, the real killer has only begun to rampage, his sights set on those close to Niall.
Now the hunt for evil is on. Niall's only allies are Andrew Wade, a hopeless drunkard tormented by his own cowardice, and Andrew's young wife, Clarice, whom Niall secretly adores. After another murder occurs, Niall manages to stay out of jail, but can he protect Clarice from the formidable creature prowling in their midst?
From the mysterious forests of Kentucky to a graceful Virginia plantation, from the fevered heat of battle to the hope and struggle for renewal, A Devil of a Time weaves a tale of courage, betrayal and forbidden love, of three men grappling with the demons of their past, and the remarkable woman destined to change all their lives forever.
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. - E-book Planet Reviews
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. - GoodbooksToday.com Review
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! - Onlinebookclub.org Review