Book Tour Review: Like Chaff in the Wind by Anna Belfrage

Monday, April 1, 2013
Title: Like Chaff in the Wind
Author: Anna Belfrage
Genre: historical fiction, time slip
Series: The Graham Saga #2
Pages: 390 (paperback edition)
Published: December 2012
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for reivew
Rating: 3.75/5

Matthew Graham committed the mistake of his life when he cut off his brother's nose. In revenge, Luke Graham has Matthew abducted and transported to the colony of Virginia to be sold as indentured labour. Matthew arrives in Virginia in May 1661 and any hope he had of finding someone willing to listen to his story of unlawful abduction is quickly extinguished. If anything, Matthew's insistence that he is an innocent man leads him to being singled out for the heaviest tasks. Insufficient food, gruelling days and the humid heat combine to wear him down. With a sinking feeling, he realises no one has ever survived their seven years of service on the plantation Suffolk Rose.

 Fortunately for Matthew, he has a remarkable wife. Alex  Graham has no intention of letting her husband suffer and die. So she sets off from Scotland on a perilous journey to bring her husband home. Alex is plagued by nightmares in which Matthew is reduced to a wheezing wreck by his tormentors. Sailing to Virginia, she prays for a miracle to carry her swiftly to his side. But fate has other plans, and what should have been a two month crossing turns into a year long adventure - from one side of the Atlantic to the other. Will Alex find Matthew in time? Will she be able to pay the price of setting him free? Like Chaff in the Wind continues on from The Rip in the Veil, taking Alex and Matthew's love story to a new continent.

The second novel in the Graham saga picks up right where its predecessor left off, and certainly wastes no time in getting the action started and the plot moving along. Matthew and Alex are still a formidable team with palpable chemistry, but fate conspires once more against the handsome Scottsman and his modern, tough wife. Like Chaff in the Wind isn't so much about time traveling, but focuses more closely on the heated enmity between Matthew and his villainous brother, Luke. Kidnapping, slavery, torture, rape, betrayal and despair all play a key part in the events that Alex and her husband face over the course of the novel, but Belfrage keeps the dark stuff from overwhelming her characters, plot, and her readers. It's finely balanced tale, replete with lively sex scenes and heartbreaking separation; there is a lot going on in Like Chaff in the Wind, but with these characters and this able author, it's fun to get there with them.

There's not much recapping from what happened in A Rip in the Veil - there are some slight mentions and vague revelations of what came before throughout the story, but there's nothing laid explicitly out. Even though this is a direct sequel, you can read it without first having read the premiere novel in the saga. The book features two storylines across two time periods: Alex and Matthew in the 1660's, and Alex's father and first son in 2005. There's not much to tie the two together besides Alex herself, but it still works well. The plot points (most of them), are contained and resolved within each volume, and thus new readers won't feel like they are missing out on vital information if they choose to start with this novel rather than its predecessor. An even and brisk pace, plenty of unpredictability,

Alex Lind is still a woman out of time. Now permanently attached to her life in 1660s Scotland, she is tough, stubborn, determined and outspoken. When her husband is abducted and sold into indentured servitude half a world away, Alex doesn't do what she is supposed to -- namely, sit at home and passively accept his fate and her despair. Instead, she sets out to find him, and through all the complications she endures (massive storms, extended repairs at a pit stop, villainous men), she never loses sight of her goal. Matthew is her equal and his character is very different from his wife's - but they love one another for who they are, not who they want the other to be. They have their ups and downs, but Anna Belfrage's talent for crating believable relationships and smouldering chemistry balances out their interactions.

The bond between Alex and her husband is strong, and can weather a lot of damage thrown their way. Matthew never doubts his wife will find her way to him, and Alex never hesitates to save her husband. Torn between being with her newborn son and finding her-presumed-lost-or-dead man, Alex's decisions are hard, but she isn't afraid to do what others think she should not.  Even when Matthew is being brutally broken, and makes some mistakes, it is Alex - the thought of her, the memory of her - that keeps him going when underfed and overworked. Their story and fight to be together was the most compelling - I've always liked Alex and Matthew better than their more modern counterparts, and it was the same here in book two. There's more, time, detail and interest in the historical narrative, and while the author joined the two ably, and I didn't mind reading about Magnus and Ian, I was always eager to get back to 1660s Virginia.

Anna Belfrage has crafted two excellent books for her Graham saga, and time traveling ones at that. It's hard to find a novel that does time slip so very well, and it's heartening to hear that even more is planned out for Alex and Matthew. The third book, The Prodigal Son, is set to continue the tumultuous and temoestuous story of the two. I know I will be tuning in.

Like Chaff in the Wind Tour Banner - Copy

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, March 18
Review at Layered Pages
Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, March 19
Review at Bippity Boppity Book
Interview at Layered Pages

Wednesday, March 20
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Guest Post at Bippity Boppity Book

Thursday, March 21
Guest Post & Giveaway at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, March 22
Review at The Musings of a Book Junkie

Monday, March 25
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, March 26
Guest Post at Flashlight Commentary
Giveaway at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Wednesday, March 27
Review at The Worm Hole
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Thursday, March 28
Review & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Friday, March 29
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

Monday, April 1
Review at Raging Bibliomania
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, April 2
Review at Books, Belles and Beaux

Wednesday, April 3
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Guest Post & Giveaway at Books, Belles and Beaux

Thursday, April 4
Review & Interview at Sir Read-a-Lot

Friday, April 5
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader

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