Review: Mistress Firebrand (Renegades of the Revolution) by Donna Thorland

Actress Jennifer “Jenny” Leighton is a struggling actress in occupied Manhattan during the American Revolution.

She is living with her aunt who is a big name British actress. Jenny hopes to make a name for herself as a play write and gain an influential British patron.

The only man in Manhattan that might be able to give Jenny the patronage, General John Burgoyne, is sequestered on his ship as his staff fear that American rebels will kill him if he makes an appearance in the city.

Jenny has heard the rumors about General Burgoyne…he is quite the ladies man. Knowing that he will likely try to seduce her instead, Jenny must make a choice.

She sends a note asking him to come to one of her plays, where she hopes to convince him in other ways that she would benefit from patronage.

Burgoyne sends one of his intelligence officers, Severin Devere, instead. Devere job is to procure Jenny and take her back to the ship where Burgoyne will have his way with her.

When Devere sees Jenny for the first time, he is nothing short of captivated. He knows there is no way he can take her back to Burgoyne.

Jenny also finds herself attracted to Devere, but she knows he is a dangerous man who make his living as a spy. Can an American play write and a British spy find love in the middle of a revolution?

I really love historical fiction books with spies. I think it adds a fun layer to the story and especially the romance. So needless to say I was intrigued by this novel.

The characters were well constructed and easy to relate to. I thought the romance between Jenny and Devere was appropriate but I did hope for a little more ‘romance’.

I easily believed that they loved each other and I liked seeing them working side by side but I just wanted a little more in the ‘heat’ category. There were definite sex scenes but they were a little more tame than I was expecting.

It was nice in some ways because the novel wasn’t just a romance novel, but I almost expected some more heat after the first ‘romantic encounter’ between Jenny and Devere but overall it was fine.

My biggest issue with the novel was that there was a lot of ‘telling’ and not very much showing when it came to the general plot. It’s hard to explain but I felt like a lot of time was spent on the play and being told how Jenny was used to ‘playing parts’ in plays and writing plays and all that rather than letting the audience come to that conclusion on their own.

I don’t know I just felt like a lot of the time I was being told about Jenny rather than seeing her come alive and develop on her own.

I didn’t however feel this way with Devere. He was charming in his own unique way and that shined through in the writing and story line.

I liked the direction of the novel but would have liked to have seen a little more build up when it came to the conflict within the town. It would have been a volatile time so I expected a little more tension and built up. Since it was set in the Revolution, I just expected the setting to play more of a part so I would have liked to see a little more tension on that front.

And on a final note, I am absolutely in love with the cover. I love the yellow dress and the angle of the woman. It caught my eye and made me want to read it. On one hand the dress and necklace didn’t say ‘Revolutionary War’ to me….it actually said more like ‘French Revolution’ but I was so captivated by the cover that I couldn’t keep my eyes off of it!

Overall this was a great read and it kept me engaged from beginning to end. I normally don’t read a lot of novels set in America but I liked the Revolution setting and the aspect of the novel. I would definitely read more of these books. I noticed that this is the first in a series but it sounds like it will be with other characters and I liked that….similar themes and plots but with new characters. I look forward to reading more by Thorland!

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: Mistress Firebrand (Renegades of the Revolution) by Donna Thorland

  • Kindle Edition
    Expected publication: March 15th 2015 by NAL (first published March 3rd 2015)
  • Review copy provided by: Author in exchange for an honest review

This book counts toward: NA

  • Hosted by: NA
  • Books for Challenge Completed: NA

Recommendation: 4 out of 5

Genre: Historic fiction, romance

Memorable lines/quotes: NA


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