Dublin 1702 and Irish beauty Kit Kavanagh has everything she could want in life. Newly married, she runs a successful alehouse with her beloved husband Richard. The wars that rage in Europe over the Spanish throne seem a world away. But everything changes on the night that Richard simply disappears.
Finding the Queen's shilling at the bottom of Richard's tankard, Kit realises that her husband has been taken for a soldier. Kit follows Richard's trail across the battlefields of Italy in the Duke of Marlborough's regiment. Living as a man, risking her life in battle, she forms a close bond with her wry and handsome commanding officer Captain Ross. When she is forced to flee the regiment following a duel, she evades capture by dressing once more as a woman. But the war is not over for Kit.
Her beauty catches the eye of the scheming Duke of Ormonde, who recruits her to spy upon the French. In her finery she meets Captain Ross once again, who seems just as drawn to the woman as he was to the soldier. Torn between Captain Ross and her loyalty to her husband, and under the orders of the English Crown, Kit finds that her life is in more danger now than on the battlefield. Of all the dangers that she faced, the greatest was discovery...
I'm not so familiar with regards to the history that's intertwined in this book, but I love hearing of a story that is in fact in relation to a true story and this book does just that. Set during the 1700s Dublin and Spain, a time of uncertainty of who was to rule over a large active empire that was Europe due to the loss of the childless Charles II.
I found this story a fun and interesting read, a perfect life for Kit and her husband Richard in the delights of their own pub in Dublin. Yet within hours Richard is enlisted to fight abroad, desperate to find her loving husband Kit makes a journey of her own of fighting amongst other men in the battlefields. If anything the story reminded me a bit of the Disney film Mulan, of posing as a man to fight for someone she loves.
It was lovely to come to the end of the novel where 'Historical Note' was added, informing me that Kit was a real person and a great amount of what happened in this book was actually true. Just a small fact, but Kit died in 1739 and was buried in Westminster Abbey, London. When a book has some historical truth it makes it even more fascinating to read, especially when you come to the end and it comes as a surprise that the story was loosely based on real life- simply brilliant!
At times I was a little disappointed with how Kit's path was forming, but I can't particularly fault this book. I wanted to connect with Kit more but I just didn't with some of the decisions that she made throughout the book. Yes, she was brave and kind and fought for what she believed in but I was uncertain as to how her journey was going to pan out. But that's not a bad thing, I like surprise and having myself proved wrong. The way the story was told I often felt I wasn't living in the moment with Kit, I didn't feel like I felt her emotions and therefore hard to show some empathy towards what happens to her.
A great historical fiction story, plenty of action and historical aspects that kept me glued all the way through. I now have Marina noted as an author to look out for so I can enjoy more of her books in the future. So thank you to the publisher and Marina for giving me the opportunity to read this book, I look forward to reading even more!