I wanted to love this book. That’s not to say that I didn’t like it, because I did, but I wanted to adore it because it was set in early America, which is my favorite time period and why I’m specializing in early American literature in my PhD program (tidbits about me, yay!). I was, however, a little disappointed in it.
What I noticed around the middle of the novel was that the story was more about Thomas and his back story than about Martha. The title is a bit misleading in that regard because we’re lead to believe this story will be about the traitor’s WIFE, not about the traitor himself. Ultimately, I wanted more from Martha. Though she is fleshed out amazingly, I wanted more of her and less of Thomas’ back story.
However, that doesn’t stop the book from being incredibly intriguing. Kent has an amazing ability to transport readers directly into colonial America without the burden of colonial language. If you’ve ever read a true piece of colonial writing, you understand. Trust me, it takes quite a bit of patience and skill to navigate through the bulky language of yester-year. I appreciate her modern (but not too modern) adaptation of language in this novel.
The only thing that truly bothered me was the abrupt ending. Stopping with Thomas and Martha’s marriage (not a spoiler. The title gives it away) only seemed like a cop-out. Why call it The Traitor’s Wife if it ends with the marriage? She’s not his wife for 99.99% of the novel. This just bugs me to no end. Yes, the title is catchy, but it just doesn’t accurately reflect the content of the book. This, I think, is the major flaw here and something I couldn’t get passed. I tried. Like I said, I really enjoyed reading this book, but I couldn’t give it more than three stars because my expectations based on the title would never be fulfilled because of the content.
Do I recommend this book? Yes, but with the caveat that you disregard the title. If you throw that away, The Traitor’s Wife will suck you in with its mystery, action, and intrigue.