"Blowing out the candle, Martha pulled both of the blankets close under her chin and lay in the dark. Here I am, she thought, traded like a kettle to yet another family. She knew it was not just for the wages ... it was to find a husband."
"She had seen her reflection in a bucket of water often enough to know she had a kind of beauty, mirthless though it was; her skin was clear and unspotted, her forehead high and sloping. Her black hair ... was no doubt her glory, but she knew her brows knitted together too often to be pleasing, causing a deep well to form between them. But beyond all of that, she feared she had too much force, too much animal vitality, to be winning; at least to any civil, unprotesting sort of man."The other story line running through this historical fiction novel concerns the five mercenaries sent by Charles II to Massachusetts to hunt down the regicides, those men who brought about the death of Charles I, especially the one called Thomas Morgan. The chapters alternate between Martha's story and that of these five men, although I would have preferred it if Kathleen Kent had focused solely on Martha and Thomas. (I found myself skimming the other chapters.) Kent includes a lot of interesting historical details; and I was also glad that at the end of the novel she explains which parts of her story are based on fact, and which are based on legend, rumor and supposition. Martha's a strong character, but I found her to be a bit prickly and not always likeable. And I while I liked Thomas, I wish his character had been fleshed out a little more. As for the rest of the novel, I liked it, but I didn't love it. Still, it's set in Massachusetts, which means I've filled another category in Lory's Reading New England Challenge. I only have two more states to go!