Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Scarlet Coat by Angela K. Couch

Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Obtained from: Netgalley
Read: January 25, 2017

Surrounded by the musket fire of the American Revolution, Rachel Garnet prays for her family to be safe. When the British invade the Mohawk Valley and her father and brother don't return from the battle, she goes in pursuit of them. She finds her brother alive but her father has been killed at the hand of the enemy. Amidst the death, how can she ignore a cry for help? Rachel reluctantly takes in a badly wounded British officer. But how long can her sense of Christian duty repress her hatred for his scarlet coat? Passages of Scripture and fleeting images of society are all Andrew Wyndham recalls after he awakens to the log walls of his gentle prison. Even his name eludes him. Rachel Garnet insists he is a captain in the British army. He mourns the loss of his memory, but how can he hope to remember war when his “enemy” is capturing his heart? Andrew’s injuries are severe, his memory slow to return, and the secret of his existence too perilous to ignore. As Rachel nurses him back to health, his hidden scarlet coat threatens to expose the deeds of her merciful heart, and Andrew is forced to face a harrowing decision—Stay hidden and risk losing the woman he loves or turn himself in and risk losing his life.

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I am well aware that one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and artwork isn’t a factor I consider when rating any story, but what in the dewy decimal system is going on with Angela K. Couch’s The Scarlet Coat? Am I only one crinkling their nose over this poorly contrived composition?

Having thrown that shallow commentary on the table, I’d like to say that I am in the minority in my estimation of the novel’s content. Most readers seemed to have greatly enjoyed the time they spent with The Scarlet Coat and while I truly appreciate those opinions, I can’t say Couch’s narrative suited my particular tastes.

Pardon my blunt assessment, but the characters struck me as one dimensional and I’d difficultly warming to either Rachel or Andrew. The novel was too sweet for my liking and I found the action both predictable and slow. Couch’s faith based themes are hard to miss and while I’ve no issue with the content, I couldn’t help wishing there’d been more subtly exercised in its presentation.

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Rachel glanced at the man on the floor, not sure whether to retreat or go back to her ministrations. Her insides twisted. This man fought for life. He was the enemy—her mind knew it—but lying here so helpless…he was only a man. Could she sit back and do nothing while he died?
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