I had such hopes for this one, but alas it was not to be.
It should be said that this is a review of a DNF, I read enough to know what wasn’t working for me but with the due date at the library’s arrival I had to give it back and I don’t miss it. Proceed with that knowledge, because I’m probably going on a little bit of a rant here.
Here we go: I am so freaking tired of women’s stories being told through the lens of the men in their lives as the predominant view. SO. TIRED. This book purports to be the story of two women and the radical men they married. Fine. Then it needs to be at least even handed between the genders, if not tipped to the women because the title is literally Defiant Brides. That is not what happened here. Listen, I’m a fan of Henry Knox, you know? Who doesn’t appreciate a bookseller who uses his shipping and organizational prowess to turn the tides of the war? But if I wanted a book about Henry Knox (or, I guess Benedict Arnold) I would have picked up a biography about him. I did not do that.
And you know why I don’t read biographies of military officers from any war? I CAN’T STAND THE MINUTIA OF WAR. I’m a history major, I did my time. I respect the hell out of the people who serve, but the history of battles and campaigns bores me to tears. I dared to dream I was safe with this one, as the subtitle says revolutionary era. The time surrounding the war! I can totally dig on the social history surrounding times of conflict. THIS BOOK IS HIP DEEP IN THE EARLY CAMPAIGNS OF THE WAR WITHIN TWENTY-FIVE PAGES. Friends, that was not what I signed up for.
And one more thing before I get off my soapbox and go about forgetting I ever wasted time on this book: I was promised previously unpublished writings of these women. I suppose Stuart works them into her narrative, but fuck if I could tell.