Wolves of Andover (Kent)

The Wolves of Andover 
Kathleen Kent, 2010
Little, Brown & Co.
300 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780316068628

In the harsh wilderness of colonial Massachusetts, Martha Allen works as a servant in her cousin's household, taking charge and locking wills with everyone. Thomas Carrier labors for the family and is known both for his immense strength and size and mysterious past.

The two begin a courtship that suits their independent natures, with Thomas slowly revealing the story of his part in the English Civil War. But in the rugged new world they inhabit, danger is ever present, whether it be from the assassins sent from London to kill the executioner of Charles I or the wolves—in many forms—who hunt for blood.

A love story and a tale of courage, The Wolves of Andover confirms Kathleen Kent's ability to craft powerful stories of family from colonial history. (From the publisher.)

This book is Kent's prequel to The Heretic's Daughter.

Author Bio
Kathleen Kent is a tenth-generation descendant of Martha Carrier. She lives in Dallas with her husband and son. The Heretic's Daughter is her first novel;The Wolves of Andover, its prequel, is her second.

Book Reviews
Martha Allen has been obliged to take residence in her cousin's New England Home as a servant. She meets strong-willed Welshman Thomas Carrier who served as a soldier in the English Civil War. As their friendship blossoms consequences from Thomas's actions back in England catch up with him and both their lives are put in grave danger. (Pick of the Paperbacks.)
Daily Express (UK)

A servant girl in New England forges an unlikely bond with the suspected murderer of Charles I (Pick of the Paperbacks review.)
Times (UK)

Kent doesn't disappoint...taking readers back to Massachusetts before the Salem witch trials as strong-willed 23-year-old Martha Allen falls in love with strong-armed hired hand Thomas Carrier.... Kent brings colonial America to life by poking into its dark corners and finding its emotional and personal underpinnings.
Publishers Weekly

[T]he author combines harsh images of early Colonial life with a well-paced story and careful details. The result is a taut narrative that will satisfy historical fiction lovers. —Anna Karras Nelson, Collier Cty. P.L., Naples, FL
Library Journal

This prequel to Kent’s The Heretic’s Daughter (2008) focuses on the early life of outspoken, tart-tongued Martha Allen, from whom the author is descended.... An example of the currently popular genre-blender, the book is part historical fiction, part romance, and part suspense. Skillfully meshing these various elements, the author’s latest effort is bound to please fans of each. —Michael Cart

Kent tells the fictionalized story of her ancestor Martha Carrier's courtship with her future husband years before she became a victim of the Salem Witch Trials.... Kent has more fun with the Londoners...than her somewhat morose ancestors, but she lovingly captures their daily grind and brings looming dangers, whether man or beast, to harrowing life.
Kirkus Reviews

Discussion Questions
1. What must it be like for Martha, a strong, independent woman, to be a servant in her cousin’s home?

2. Why is Martha so determined to gain the upper hand in her early dealings with Thomas and John?

3. Giving birth in the early colonies was often dangerous. Discuss what it must have been like for a woman at that time to be pregnant, lacking a proper diet and adequate medical care. Patience often behaves in a weak and ineffectual way. Does knowing about the perils of childbirth that she faced make you feel more compassion for her?

4. Just before Martha’s encounter with the wolves, she remembers a poem recited by an elderly great-aunt. The last line is "it is not wolf, but man, and brings a maiden’s death" (page 53). Discuss what you think that passage means.

5. Wolves were a real threat in the early colonial wilderness. What do the wolves foreshadow beyond the coming of the assassins?

6. Martha carries a dark secret. At what point do you think Thomas intuits her painful past experiences?

7. When Martha discovers the scroll inside Thomas’s trunk, a small piece of wood falls to the floor and "an aversion as strong as anything she had ever felt unfurled its way down her spine" (page 141). Discuss whether you believe some people have the ability to sense past events through physical objects.

8. In chapter 12, Brudloe tells the miller Asa Rogers that it can’t be difficult to track down one colonial lout—meaning Thomas. The miller answers, "To find men of stature in this place, in this hard wilderness, one has only to stand on a Boston wharf and look westwards" (page 148). Discuss the events that helped make the colonists so capable.

9. Martha’s father tells her that he did not raise her to be liked, but rather to be "reckoned with" (page 266). What do you think he means?

10. Often we think of the New World colonies as established on the eve of the American Revolution. History shows, however, that independent thought and action took root much earlier. Discuss ways in which the early spy rings of the colonial settlers aided the colonists’ growing independence.
(Questions issued by the publisher.)

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