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The Swift and the Harrier
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The Swift and the Harrier (Hardback)

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Synopsis

'Historical fiction at its finest' - Belfast Telegraph



Dorset, 1642.



When bloody civil war breaks out between the King and Parliament, families and communities across England are riven by different allegiances.



A rare few choose neutrality.



One such is Jayne Swift, a Dorset physician from a Royalist family, who offers her services to both sides in the conflict. Through her dedication to treating the sick and wounded, regardless of belief, Jayne becomes a witness to the brutality of war and the devastation it wreaks.



Yet her recurring companion at every event is a man she should despise because he embraces civil war as the means to an end. She knows him as William Harrier, but is ignorant about every other aspect of his life. His past is a mystery and his future uncertain.



The Swift and the Harrier is a sweeping tale of adventure and loss, sacrifice and love, with a unique and unforgettable heroine at its heart.

Fiction & PoetryCrime & ThrillersClassic crimeFiction & PoetryHistorical Fiction Publisher: Atlantic Books Publication Date: 04/11/2021 ISBN-13: 9781838954529  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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Minette Walters is one of the world's bestselling crime writers and has sold over 25 million copies of her books worldwide. She has won the CWA John Creasey Award, the Edgar Allan Poe Award in America and two CWA Gold Daggers. The Swift and the Harrier is her third historical novel. She lives in Dorset with her husband.

More books by Minette Walters

Customer Reviews

I have read some of Minette Walters' crime books before but I didn't know she also wrote historical novels so I was excited to read this. Although it's one of my favourite genres I hadn't actually read anything set during the English Civil War and I thought this book was informative and enlightening as well as very entertaining. It’s full of beautifully written, well-rounded characters and Jayne Swift is a wonderful heroine. She's feisty and independent while still staying true to the sensibilities and conventions of the time period. I found all the historical details fascinating, from the everyday things like the clothes they wore right through to the political situation and the way the battles were planned and fought. I felt totally immersed in the lives of Jayne, William, Lady Alice and everyone around them. Definitely a 5 star read for me.

- 05/11/2021
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Following her two epic novels on the Black Death, Minette Walters returns with a rousing historical fiction novel and love story set against the backdrop of the English Civil War with an inspirational woman at its heart. Spanning 1942 to 1949 and predominantly set in Dorset, the novel opens in dramatic fashion with not yet twenty-seven-year-old Jayne Swift, the daughter of a local squire from a loyal Royalist family, making haste to attend the sick baby son of her cousin in Dorchester. A physician by training but unable to declare herself one in the county, Jayne arrives as a frenzied crowd awaits the execution of two Catholic priests with her cousin’s husband, Samuel Morecott, leading the Puritan uprising. Encountering Lady Alice Stickland known for her outspoken support for Parliament in Dorchester it is the behaviour of her overly familiar footman, William, that gives Jayne pause for thought. As the conflict continues apace with a siege at Lyme Regis where Jayne takes charge of a former hospital for treating the wounded and wins plaudits aplenty, to returning to her family home and finding it divided by the conflict, Jayne seems to encounter William Harrier wherever she goes. In one instance a footman, in another a Knight or soldier comrade of her brother, William turns up everywhere and it is never quite clear on which side of the divide his loyalties lie. Jayne Swift is a brilliantly drawn character, a woman to be admired and very much the focal point of this engrossing stand-alone. A woman who has never conformed to expectations, Jayne is an intelligent, quick-witted and kind woman who makes no secret of her intention to remain neutral from the outset of the conflict and treat the wounded, whether they be Royalist or Parliamentarian. William Harrier remains an enigma for the majority of the novel and in contrast to straight-talking Jayne I had difficulty warming to his chameleon-like persona and never quite felt he was trustworthy or indeed worthy of Jayne! The romance aspect of the story is muted and throughout plays second fiddle to the overriding story of the conflict dividing the nation and the opportunities it presents for Jayne to use her training as a physician. Jayne’s romance with William Harrier doesn’t feel written on the cards from the start of this novel and it certainly doesn’t read like a typical historical romance novel which I doubt would have held my attention so completely over the course of five hundred pages. The story is vividly evoked throughout and there is a regular cast of around twenty supporting characters that the reader gets to know with a balance between details of conflicts, political machinations and Jayne’s medical work. Whilst I think that in reality a female physician, particularly one as doughty as Jayne Swift, would have had a far tougher time getting a modicum of respect and would have faced far more hostility than she did, it did nothing to detract from an extraordinarily compelling reading experience. Unequivocally well-researched and both dramatic and fast-paced enough to make it a real page-turner that is both an accessible and introduction to the period. That the denouement isn’t rushed is the icing on the cake to a powerfully told story where the very best and worst of humanity are on display.

- 30/10/2021
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