Reviewer: 30 Book A Month Reader (Ohio) -
The Rebel and the Rose starts in the Spring of 1773 in England. Lady Barbara Maxwell, a confirmed Englishwoman, is about to be married off - against her wishes - to Rebel American Alan Maxwell. This book is different from the Regency romances that Joan Wolf usually writes. It is more of a romantic, family saga. Beginning with Barbara and Alan's courtship in England, the book takes us to America as the first shot is fired, through the long and bitter Revolutionary war, to the end when Barbara and Alan have been married for over 15 years. It is not only a journey through American history, but a journey through one couple's marriage - a couple brought up in two different lands, believing in two different governments. Barbara and Alan's marriage parallels the war - it's rocky beginnings, it's total isolation, it's eventual uneasy peace and finally its acceptance and love. This is an excellent book that I would recommend not only to romance readers, but also history lovers.
I *love* Joan Wolf, but this is definitely not one of her better efforts. The book covers FAR too much ground, more than a dozen years encompassing the entire American Revolution, and the love story is completely lost in it. She gets the couple married and establishes that the hero feels a physical attraction to his new wife, and that's pretty much it. Their falling in love doesn't really happen on the pages. I found myself skimming through pages, looking for parts I could skip completely (and I tend to be obsessive about reading EVERY word) while hoping that the love story would pick up. It didn't. I believe this was JW's first attempt to write a longer book than the traditional Regencies she did so well, and her pacing was just off.
I always enjoy this author's writings. This is set against the American Revolution from the years 1773 to 1788. Excellent background coverage of the historical events of the time, and covers many of the hardships endured by the women who carried on while the men were at war.