06 May 2022

Review: The Swift and the Harrier by Minette Walters

The Swift and the Harrier by Minette Walters book cover

* Copy courtesy of Allen & Unwin *

The Swift and the Harrier by Minette Walters was such a joy to read. Expertly researched and wonderfully written, the book opens in Dorset in 1642 and finishes there seven years later in 1649. Those who know their history will recognise this period as the English Civil War that raged in England from 1642 - 1651 between the Royalists (who were for the King having absolute rule) and the Parliamentarians.

Jayne Swift of the title is an unmarried woman who uses her many skills as a physician to provide medical treatment to the wounded on both sides of the conflict. Remaining neutral throughout, despite coming from a seemingly Royalist family, it's impossible not to love Jayne. Her skill in providing medical treatment for all kinds of maladies, including battlefield surgery was remarkable.

In fact, Jayne reminded me of Lady Anne of Develish from The Last Hours by Minette Walters. I can't believe I read that almost 5 years ago in November 2017! Notwithstanding, that was set 300 years earlier and The Swift and the Harrier is a stand alone novel.

The Harrier referred to in the title is a person who crosses paths with Jayne a number of times over the years, but don't worry, this isn't a romance driven novel. There are other characters I warmed to throughout the book and I was rooting for their safety amongst the ever changing politics surrounding the civil war.

A personal reading highlight I'll take with me after reading The Swift and the Harrier by Minette Walters was the absolute pleasure in seeing praise from Theresa Smith (Theresa Smith Writes) and Ashleigh Meikle (The Book Muse) featured in the first few pages. They're both fantastic Australian book bloggers and I know how much of a thrill it is, so I hope they're both proud to be included in this fine book.

The Swift and the Harrier by Minette Walters is highly recommended for fans of Philippa Gregory, Kate Mosse, C.J. Sansom or Ken Follett and you can read the first 19 pages for free on the publisher's website

My Rating:


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  1. I just loved this book!!! Great review - from Kylie

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  2. I'm so glad you loved this as much as I did, but not surprised, given our similar tastes. Thanks for the mention!

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    1. You're very welcome Theresa and I'm relieved we both loved this one too. I'm pretty sure Minette Walters will never be the 'line in the sand' between our reading tastes, I'll leave that to Sarah Winman and Sally Rooney, LOL!!

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  3. Oooh, now ordered from the library. Cheers

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    1. Thanks Carole, I think you'll really enjoy this one!

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  4. Just finished this enjoyable historical novel. I have also read Minette Walters’ “The Last Hours” and “The Turn of Midnight” about the Black Death, and recommend all three.

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    1. Thanks so much BookWoman67, I'm so glad you liked this one as well! I enjoyed The Last Hours and have The Turn of Midnight by Minette Walters on my TBR so it seems we have the same reading tastes 😃

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