British Occupied Manhattan, 1777. American actress Jenny Leighton has been packing the John Street Theater with her witty comedies, but she longs to escape the provincial circuit for the glamour of the London stage. When the playwright General John Burgoyne visits the city, fresh from a recent success in the capitol, she seizes the opportunity to court his patronage. But her plan is foiled by British intelligence officer Severin Devere.
Severin’s mission is to keep the pleasure-loving general focused on the war effort…and away from pretty young actresses. But the tables are turned when Severin himself can’t resist Jenny Leighton…
Months later, Jenny has abandoned her dreams of stage glory and begun writing seditious plays for the Rebels under the pen name “Cornelia,” ridiculing “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne and his army—and undermining the crown’s campaign to take Albany. With Jenny’s name now on the hanging list, Severin is ordered to find her—and deliver her to certain death. Soon, the two are launched on a desperate journey through the wilderness, toward an uncertain future shaped by the revolution—and their passion for each other…
Much of the history of the American Revolution that is taught in schools today is all about the men who fought in the war. Now, I'm an ardent supporter of our men (and women) in uniform, past and present. But the roles of women, especially as taught to our children seem to be relegated to that of support to the men who were the 'movers and shakers'. Such support took the form of some kind of 'womanly pursuit', such as sewing - think Betsy Ross and the Stars and Stripes.
In steps Donna Thorland, introducing us to her creation Jenny Leighton. While a fictional character, Jenny seems to have been based on an historical figure. Jenny is a woman of spirit and patriotism, as much an American soldier as many who were drafted for service.
Such an intriguing character as Jenny is made all the juicier by Ms. Thorland's writing. And I'm not just talking about the passionate attraction between Jenny the Revolutionary and Severin DeVere. To be involved in events of world-changing proportions, in any time, sparks fire in the imagination and adventure in the soul.
If you are looking for a darn good story, read Mistress Firebrand. If you are looking for a darn good story set in the American Revolution, see the previous sentence. If you want to enrich your studies of history, particularly this era - read Mistress Firebrand as well as the other books in the "Renegades of the Revolution Series" - The Turncoat and The Rebel Pirate.
A native of Bergenfield, New Jersey, Donna graduated from Yale with a degree in Classics and Art History. For many years she managed architecture and interpretation at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, and wrote and directed the Witch City’s most popular Halloween theater festival, Eerie Events. She later earned an MFA in film production from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Donna has been a sorority house mother, a Disney/ABC Television Writing Fellow, a WGA Writer’s Access Project Honoree, and a writer on the ABC primetime drama, Cupid. Her screenwriting credits include episodes of the animated series, Tron: Uprising. Her short fiction has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Albedo One. The director of several award-winning short films, her most recent project, The Night Caller, aired on WNET Channel 13 and was featured on Ain’t It Cool News. Currently she is a writer on the WGN drama SALEM. She is married with one cat and divides her time between the real Salem and Los Angeles.
For more information visit Donna Thorland’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
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(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)