When American colonists resort to war against Britain and her colonial attitudes, a young couple caught in the crossfire must find a way to survive. Pioneers in the wilds of New York State, John and Lucy face a bitter separation and the fear of losing everything, even their lives, when he joins Butler’s Rangers to fight for the King and leaves her to care for their isolated farm. As the war in the Americas ramps up, ruffians roam the colonies looking to snap up Loyalist land. Alone, pregnant, and fearing John is dead, Lucy must fight with every weapon she has. With vivid scenes of desperation, heroism, and personal angst, Elaine Cougler takes us back to the beginnings of one great country and the planting of Loyalist seeds for another. The Loyalist’s Wife transcends the fighting between nations to show us the individual cost of such battles.
Elaine’s award-winning historical novels are about the lives of settlers in the Thirteen Colonies who remained loyal to Britain during the American Revolution. She used the backdrop of the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Rebellion of 1837 for page-turning fictional tales where the main characters face torn loyalties, danger, and personal conflicts. Her Loyalist trilogy is comprised of The Loyalist’s Wife, The Loyalist’s Luck and The Loyalist Legacy. The newly released prequel to this series is The Loyalist’s Daughter where 14-year-old Lucinda Harper and her father witness the dumping of tea chests into Boston’s harbour, an act which precipitates the American Revolutionary War. Elaine wrote a different kind of history in the creative non-fiction book about the last (at the time) surviving member of the Canadian Cancer Society “inner sanctum” team, Ronald G. Calhoun, who managed Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope in 1980. The Man Behind the Marathons: How Ron Calhoun Helped Terry Fox and Other Heroes Make Millions for Charity launched in 2019 and is a recipient of the Book Excellence Award and is an Amazon #1 Bestseller. Elaine’s writing journey has led to speaking gigs, cruises, trips, and also to her giving workshops on a variety of subjects. She says you learn a lot when you embrace your dreams.
She and her husband have two grown children and are delighted to be grandparents to a boy and a girl. Life is good.
Loyalist lit has never been particularly prevalent, but it isn't exactly unheard of. The Tory Widow by Christine Blevins, The Traitor's Wife by Allison Pataki, Sarah Bishop by Scott O'Dell and The King's Rangers by John Brick jump immediately to mind, but I'm sure there are others on the market. Thing is, all of these books were written by Americans which makes Canadian Elaine Cougler's The Loyalist's Wife something of a novelty.
Now in theory it shouldn't matter, but I think Cougler's background gives her an advantage here she has a slightly different view of the American Revolution and didn't feel a need to conform on any level with the rampant glorification we so often see here in the states. As a result, her work incorporates a noticeable degree of objectivity and though I feel the author sort of pigeonholed her characters as either good guys or bad, I found her larger scope refreshingly fascinating.
Another thing I liked about this piece was how Cougler treated Lucy's character. Alone in the wilderness, this woman has to keep herself and her farm going, a task that requires both physical and mental tenacity, fortitude and endurance. Thing is, unlike a lot of heroines, Lucy doesn't just barrel in and kick proverbial butt and I like that. She has days that are harder than others, days marked by success and days marked by failure, and yet she soldiers on. It isn't the gung-ho perception of feminine strength that has become so popular of late, but it is no less significant and I applaud Cougler's recognition of that.
Is the book flawless? No. There were several sections were the plot felt slightly forced and I think there is definite room for increased complexity, but by and large I liked what Cougler put together here. I enjoy books that make you think about events you think you know in different ways and in that Cougler's work is certainly success.
An intriguing and authentic fiction, The Loyalist's Wife paints a vivid portrait of what life might have been for those on the other side of the conflict, the ones who risked and lost all over their enduring faithfulness to the English crown.
A perfectly crafted story of a young couple, John and Lucy, caught in the crossfire between American colonists and British loyalist in the wilds of New York State. It was a learning experience for me as I read each chapter – the ravages of war, the courage of two young people, the ultimate decision of John to join Butler’s rangers and leave his wife to look after the farm, the dreadfully bleak picture of winter with starving men on the rampage looking for food, the kindness and loyalty of some of the Native American characters – all of this makes the book a page turner. Elaine Cougler’s portrayal of this era in American history is objective and sensitive and very realistic and her storytelling ability is awesome. I learnt a lot about that period (1700s) from this book. Now I look forward to reading the next one in the trilogy.
This book was an excellent account of the pain and suffering and the strength of the loyalists who fought to save their land and their families. Excellent story and writing, I very much enjoyed reading and experiencing for myself what my loyalist ancestors probably experienced as they struggled to Niagara to start over again.
Set in frontier New York during the American Revolution, The Loyalist's Wife, Elaine Cougler's debut novel, features as its central characters a small group of colonists who remain loyal to the English crown. While I've not read a great deal of novels set during the American Revolution, I have read enough to know that Loyalists are rare as principal characters.
The principal protagonists of the novel are John Garner and his wife Lucy. John and Lucy are the owners of a small, isolated farm in upstate New York. Both characters are well-drawn and sympathetic. I appreciated that John was willing to fight for what he believed in, even if it meant leaving Lucy to take care of their farm on her own in his absence. Lucy comes across as a strong woman who doesn't let circumstances and events, including a pregnancy, stop her from doing what needs to be done.
Cougler has done a good job of describing John's daily life as a member of Butler's Rangers, but where she really shines is in her descriptions of Lucy's life back on the farm. Cougler shows just how difficult it must have been for a woman such as Lucy to take care of all the tasks associated with running a small farm on her own, especially at at time when the American patriots were seizing farms and driving Loyalists from their land.
One of the things I enjoyed most about this novel was the fact that it focused on the Loyalist cause. Although I was already familiar with the history of the Loyalists prior to reading this novel, and recognize their contribution to Canada's path towards nationhood, this knowledge came from textbooks rather than novels. As a lover of historical fiction, I found it refreshing to read an American Revolution-era novel told from the Loyalist point of view.
The Loyalist's Wife reads very quickly, and I remained engaged with the story for the duration of the novel. Nevertheless, I did find the prose sometimes repetitive, and the number of life-threatening situations both John and Lucy found themselves in, but still managed to get successfully out of, a little too much. While these situations served to showcase how dangerous life was for Loyalists (and colonists in general), I had a hard time believing that so many bad things could continue to happen.
Overall, if you're interested in reading about the American Revolution from an uncommon point of view, The Loyalist's Wife is well-worth reading. I'm looking forward to reading the next installment in the trilogy.
Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5 Source: I received a copy of this novel as part of Elaine Cougler's virtual book tour in exchange for a fair and honest review.
(This review first appeared on my blog, Confessions of an Avid Reader)
Review originally posted on my blog at westmetromommy.blogspot.com 3.0 Stars
I was intrigued by this book when I first heard about it. I can't recall ever reading a novel set during the Revolution with the main characters as Loyalists. It was on that point alone that I decided to read this book. I did like the fact that I learned a bit about the "the other side" during this conflict. There is also quite a bit about the Native Americans and how they interacted with the Europeans, which I found interesting.
Overall, I enjoyed the story. John and Lucy are both interesting characters and you can't help but root for them. I felt the plot was well-developed and Couglar has a readable style. There is a section with some rather distressing subject matter--I bring this up not as a criticism, but as a heads up to anyone who might read this book.
That being said, I had a couple of problems with the book. The first is structural--I'd have to check and make sure, but Couglar seems to follow a formula of two chapters with Lucy and two with John, breaking only when the two characters are together. Then, when she switches from one character to the other, she tends to do so with what I would consider a "soap opera cliff-hanger." In other words, she stops mid-action and just leaves the reader hanging. If this only happened once in a while it would probably be fine, but Couglar does it so consistently that it becomes annoying rather than effective.
My second problem is that Couglar falls into a trap common to many historical fiction novels. She very quickly resorts to bad guy versus good guy. In this book, the Loyalists are all wonderful, caring human beings and the Revolutionaries are all evil proto-Nazis. Unfortunately, this becomes old very, very quickly and it greatly distracts from the rest of the book.
In the end, the strength of the plot and main characters of this novel outweighed what I felt were its shortcomings. It is the first novel in a trilogy, and I am looking forward to the next installment.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I received no other compensation for this post.
3.5 stars. I really was interested in reading "The Loyalist's Wife" because I haven't read a lot of historical fiction set in America and I haven't read a lot of historical fiction set during the Revolutionary War (why isn't there more out there???). I also was intrigued by the idea that this book was told about Loyalists, those that supported the King of England during the Revolutionary War. This story follows John and Lucy, a couple who still support the King and for that, they are in danger. The story follows both John's time in the Rangers and Lucy's time on the farm alone.
I thought this story was really interesting. I loved the accounts of Lucy's life on the farm. When John leaves to fight with the Rangers, Lucy has to take over the farm herself. Because she is a Loyalist and a woman all alone, she faces a lot of danger. There was so much good detail here. I could see the long, cold winter that Lucy was trying to live through. She even has to deliver her own baby!
I also really liked learning about the Native Americans and their ties to both the Loyalists and the Revolutionaries. I didn't realize that there were some Native Americans that actually supported the Loyalists. I always love when you can learn something new from a book. This is a huge reason that I love historical fiction!
I really wished that we got to learn more about why John and Lucy still support the King. Because of the way our country came about, it was really hard for me to get into the mindset of someone that didn't think that independence from England would be better for America. I really wanted to learn more about the politics of being a Loyalist.
The Loyalist’s is a heartbreaking story about loyalty and the ravages of war. Ms. Cougler has written a compelling novel about the sweeping effects of war and human savagery. I had yet read anything from the Loyalist perspective and I found it captivating. So many people lost their property, homes and lives in the name of the King. The Colonists are not portrayed in a very positive light at all.
At the heart of this book is the survival of John and Lucy. They go through so much; each had to face their own nightmares and survive. Their struggle and strength show how different life was during the Revolutionary War. The War is definitely not romanticized in this novel. It is a realistic depiction of the devastation of war.
One of my favorite aspects of this book is Ms. Cougler’s portrayal of Native Americans. They are not all savages; but can be kind and loyal. So much more than the “white” ruffians who murder and steal. They were some very despicable characters in this book.
John and Lucy have to endure so much in order to save their life together. Their love and loyalty is a saving grace after all of the brutality and violence of war. Both changed, considerably, as the war continued. Both get stronger and are harden by their experiences. I loved Lucy’s strength. She is truly amazing character.
The Loyalist’s Wife is an amazing piece of historical fiction. It is not a romanticized portrayal of the Revolutionary War; but a realistic depiction that you will not forget.
The Loyalist`s Wife takes place during the early part of the American Revolutionary War. In 1778, torn between love for his wife, and the loyalty to the king, John joins Butler's Rangers, a British provincial regiment. Lucy, his new wife, is left to fend for herself on an isolated farm in upstate New York.
Written from both Lucy and John's point of view, we experience two vivid perspectives on how war shapes the men who fight it, and the women who are left behind. Both confront loneliness, physical hardship, and emotional ordeals. Lucinda struggles to tend the land, and is a woman determined not only to survive, but to make her husband proud upon his return. John faces his battles with the enemy with ingenuity and courage, but worries about his wife, and farm that he had to leave behind. Both Lucy and John are forced to make choices that take them further and further apart. Their determination to reunite makes the story a compelling read.
The Loyalist`s Wife is the best kind of historical fiction. The kind that leaves you wanting to learn more about that time in history, and the choices and challenges people faced. Through her extensive research, Elaine blends rich historical detail into the day-to-day struggles of each character, and shows us hardships that are unimaginable today.
I had the pleasure of reading this story set during the early years of the American Revolution. Allow me to preface my comment by saying two things: I generally read more non-fiction than I do fiction, so this was a rarity for me and; I generally do not consider myself a history buff.
In spite of the above, upon starting the story, I was immediately drawn into the lives of John and Lucy. As I followed their lives, I was taken back in time; a time of extreme hardship. I found myself amazed at the things people did to survive and; found myself in awe at the sacrifices made by people during the war.
The setting is well researched with the historical accuracy of the era.
I found myself wanting to read (which interfered with my going to work), for hours at a time. There was an extreme of emotions, from joy, to sorrow, and everything in between. Elaine has a real knack for just getting you into one flow of the story for a couple of chapters, only to switch gears and take you in a different direction, before bringing you back.
Most fictional books set in the American Revolutionary War era are told from the patriots' point of view, but with "The Loyalist's Wife," by Elaine Cougler, the story is uniquely presented through words of John and Lucy, a young married couple loyal to the British crown. And I found this absolutely fascinating.
These were two passionate young people who were hard workers, and just wanted to live their simple lives on their farm in Upper New York state. But the ongoing war with the "colonists" disrupts their plans and forces them to participate in the ugliness that surrounds such an event. Cougler doesn't hold back on the gritty realities of what a couple might have gone through at this time, and gives a unique view of the Revolutionary War that many might never have considered.
I enjoyed the characters and the writing of this novel, and highly recommend it to those who enjoy historical fiction.
I must admit, I've read many books centering around the Revolutionary War. Never have I read a book from the viewpoint of a British supporter. What a book! It will hold your interest from page one until the finish. Lucy and John are amazing people. John joins the British sympathizers Butler's Rangers and has to leave Lucy while fighting against the revolutionaries.
Lucy's story of survival is one of courage and great strength. We see the happenings from both Lucy's and John's perspective. Both underwent amazing ordeals. Here we have two people who just wanted to be left alone to farm their land. They were swept up in the terrible wartime.
I also loved reading about the Native Americans and how they interacted with both the American Revolutionaries and the British soldiers.
I highly recommend this book for any student of history or anyone just looking for a wonderful story. Does true love prevail? You'll just have to read the book to find out.
I'm an impatient reader. If my interest isn't peaked right from the get-go, or if the author's writing style isn't appealing, I simply don't continue reading the book. Both of the Loyalist books drew me in immediately and this got me excited! Couglar's writing is emotive with such sincerity. She is not trying too hard like some writers do. She eloquently tells real Canadian history and moves the reader by personalizing it in her characters. I LOVE Couglar's style of writing; it's clear, simple and organized. When I say simple, I mean that her writing is clean. It is said that the secret to great writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components. Couglar writes with no pompous frills and in doing this, the reader is able to connect more readily with her characters. And let's face it, to connect with a character in a book is amazing! I look forward to the next book in the trilogy.
I won this book through Goodreads, and I have very mixed feelings about it. As a Canadian, I have a lot of sympathy for the loyalists, and the story was gripping enough and well-edited enough that I read it in one sitting. The characters and setting were well described without being info-dumpy, but I found the dialogue, on occasion, a bit stilted. And the writing itself seems very simplistic, but it obviously works since I couldn't put it down. It was engrossing enough that by the time I was done reading I felt a bit battered in sympathy for the characters who just can't seem to catch a break. In that way it reminded me of the Outlander series, part of which takes place in the same historical setting. I should be raving about it, but I just can't put my finger on why I don't love it; I just liked it.
Really liked the Lucinda character but her husband's character didn't seem consistent throughout the book. Also, I found some of the action scenes confusing as I wasn't sure who was killing who in several scenes. Book lost tension as I got closer to the end.
Loved this book - even though it's the second book in a trilogy, it's a great stand alone. Look forward to the next and last in this series. Won this book on Goodreads. http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/1...
Elaine Cougler certainly knows how to turn a story. The pace of the action was perfect, I never once skipped a paragraph of description to get to the story. Life at the time of the American Revolution was precarious. "The Loyalist's Wife" gives a very accurate account of the vulnerability of people on both sides of the war.
This book has received a Discovering Diamonds Review: ' as a look at life in the American Colonies during that turbulent period this is a very highly recommended series. ' Helen Hollick founder #DDRevs
I found this historical fiction to be quite enjoyable. I liked the dual points of view. The author did a great job of keeping me hooked by changing perspective at a cliffhanger. I look forward to continuing the series.
The Loyalist’s Wife by Elaine Cougler is the first in a trilogy and if this novel is any indication of the ones to come then readers are sure in for a treat. Elaine’s storytelling ability is fantastic! She drew me into this novel right off the beginning and I found I could not put it down. The Loyalist’s Wife is about the struggles, perseverance, and courage of the pioneers back in the 1700′s telling a tale of the love, loyalty, and will they had to hope for a better future.
John and Lucy are pioneers in the wilds of New York State. They are young and have left all they know behind to start a new life and all is going well until John decides to join the Butler’s Rangers to fight for the King. Lucy is angry and hurt as she is going to be left alone on their farm which is very isolated where she will have to take care of all the chores, animals, and worse yet try to protect herself somehow. She has trouble understanding how John can even think of leaving her there alone but that is exactly what he does. It isn’t long before Lucy realizes she is pregnant and that raises the stakes even more for her especially as men begin to travel the countryside looking for land that they can steal and they have no issues with killing to get it. Lucy must protect herself and their land at all costs.
Meanwhile John is off fighting with the Butler’s Rangers and regretting his decision to leave Lucy alone on the farm. He wonders if she is safe and managing to handle the farm on her own. However he has to concentrate on keeping himself alive so that he can get back home to her. As the war escalates things for Lucy are becoming increasingly dangerous and she and her father decide to leave the farm and head to where John is stationed. The journey is hard especially with a baby and before long it becomes extremely harrowing and Lucy is left wondering if she will even live to see John again.
I’m always drawn to books about the pioneer life as it’s fascinating to look back at that time in our history. The author’s vivid descriptions of the hardships that the people suffered made me thankful for my life today. Many women were left alone when their men went off to war – left alone in desolate places where your nearest neighbor was miles away. They dealt daily with hard work and the fear of having evil men stop at their farms and take advantage of them. The Loyalist’s Wife was a great read and I can’t wait for the second one in the trilogy. Full of great characters that I came to truly care about and an interesting time in history The Loyalist’s Wife is a must read for historical fiction fans!