In 1642, England is on the brink of civil war between Royalists, who support King Charles I and his right to absolute rule and Parliamentarians, who believe that Parliament should represent the people. Jayne Swift is a daughter of the Dorset gentry, and much to her parents’ dismay, has thus far in life resisted any offers of marriage. Instead, Jayne has trained as a physician and is devoted to healing others, regardless of their political beliefs.
When Jayne first meets William Harrier, she is led to believe that he is a footman to a Dorchester neighbor and Parliamentarian. As war rages on, Jayne remains neutral and just wants the senseless killing to stop. Each time she encounters William, however, he appears in a different guise and Jayne is left wondering which side of the war he is fighting for.
Throughout it all, including battles that result in Jayne managing hospitals on the front lines, and up to the war’s end in 1649, Jayne and William find themselves in each other’s orbits and in each other’s hearts. But can Jayne ever have a future with the mysterious William Harrier, who presents himself as pauper one moment and a lord the next?
If you are a fan of meticulously researched historical fiction, you’ll want to put The Swift and the Harrier by Minette Walters at the top of your reading list. This sweeping tale of adventure, war, loss, and love stars an unforgettable and non-traditional heroine in Jayne and a dashing man of mystery in William. Well-paced and totally captivating, The Swift and the Harrier is historical fiction at its best.