Setting New York City 17774 1 2 StarsAfter reading the authors first two books and I absolutely loved them, I admit I was hesitant going into this one only because I really don t care for historical books romance or otherwise where the backdrop is a actress playwright actor theme I don t know why, but they just bore me and I can t hold any interest in one That being saidI thought Mistress Firebrand her most amusing, clever, adventurous, and thought provoking novel yet and I couldn t put it down Once again Ms.Thorland gives us a story with wonderfully vivid descriptions, fascinating historical events and dynamic to the core characters alongside with a very powerful love story This being the third book in her Revolution series all can be read as a stand alone she gives the reader a view of the era from several sides which made it even interesting.Jenny Leighton actress playwright dreams of seeing her witty comedies on the stage in London.And her big opportunity comes when playwright general John Burgoyne arrives He is her ticket to the London stage in England..or so she thinks But Jenny s scheme is thwarted by Severin Devere, whose job it is to keep gentleman Johnny s focus on the war and not on the ladies Months go by, and Jenny is no longer dreaming of her stardom in London, but now penning sarcastic plays about the British under a pen name of Cornelia By the time Severin figures out Jenny is Cornelia, he has fallen in love with her Now caught between loyalty and love, rebellion and safety, Jenny and Severin face danger and the opportunity to fight for freedom.There is nothing better then a book that sucks you right in, makes you laugh out loud, fall in love with the characters, and not want it to end.This is one author that with each book it just gets better and better and I can hardly wait for her next book to come out Highly recommend all her books in the Revolution series I ve long wanted to read Donna Thorland as I love Revolutionary era historical fiction and have seen rave reviews for her books Happily, I wasn t disappointed with this read, which was atmospheric, detailed, and vividly done.Set in 1777, Mistress Firebrand features a young American playwright, Jennifer Leighton Niece to the much toasted actress Fanny Leighton, Jennifer aspires to fame, and considers a daring plan to do so have British general John Burgoyne act as her patron Burgoyne is a notorious womanizer, so British spy Severin Devere decides to ward off any distractions, but finds himself charmed and intrigued by the writer Pretty soon, both become caught up in the war between England and the colonies, and both have to decide where their loyalties lie, a decision made complicated by their very obvious interest in each other.In addition to being a fabulously fun historical romance, Thorland tackles some rather modern issues in the story, which just ratchets the book from good to great careers over relationships, safe sex through condom use, and the idea of pleasure and happiness Jennifer and Severin and their friends and enemies felt historical grounded and yet, discussed and debated topics that are relevant to people today which I love There was a real struggle, not just for Jennifer and Severin to survive a war unscathed which was exciting enough , but for the two of them to have professional happiness, too.I mean, read this, from our heroine Jennifer I practically cheered on the subway I have seen love up close now, and I will not settle for the kind that limits and diminishes me You are capable of than killing I am capable of than domestic devotion I do not wish the kind of love that reduces over time who we each are I want the kind that makes the whole of us greater than the sum of our parts p298 299 Amen, sister.There were sexytimes that were hot and plotty and surprising There s a fabulous wealth of detail about 18th century theater Jennifer is inspired by Mercy Otis Warren and her aunt by Mary Darby Robinson, two real life figures I love, so I ve got love upon love here as well as exciting wartime drama This isn t a fluffy read, not precisely, but it races from the mix of romance, tension, and humor a combo I love.Technically, this is the third book in Thorland s Renegades of the American Revolution series, although I don t think they re actually connected in any way other than setting I m dying to get my hands on the other two now I m a Thorland fangirl British Occupied Manhattan, American Actress Jennifer Leighton Has Been Packing The John Street Theater With Her Witty Comedies, But She Longs To Escape The Provincial Circuit For The Glamour Of The London Stage When The Playwright General John Burgoyne Visits The City, Fresh From A Recent Success In The Capitol, She Seizes The Opportunity To Court His Patronage But Her Plan Is Foiled By British Intelligence Officer Severin Devere Severin S Mission Is To Keep The Pleasure Loving General Focused On The War Effort And Away From Pretty Young Actresses But The Tables Are Turned When Severin Himself Can T Resist Jennifer Leighton Months Later, Jenny Has Abandoned Her Dreams Of Stage Glory And Begun Writing Seditious Plays For The Rebels Under The Pen Name Cornelia, Ridiculing Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne And His Army And Undermining The Crown S Campaign To Take Albany By The Time Severin Meets Up With Jenny Once Again, She Is On A British Hanging List, And Severin Is Ordered To Find Her And Deliver Her To Certain Death Soon, The Two Are Launched On A Desperate Journey Through The Wilderness, Toward A Future Shaped By The Revolution And Their Passion For Each Other 10 Stars l I don t think this series is HR, but rather HF or romantic historical fiction This book like The Turncoat, bk 1 of the series is very heavy in historical detail, as it should be This author is an expert on the period This is her area of expertise There was so much intrigue and political maneuvering, that the romantic element was a little overshadowed, but I don t think this is HR However, I really liked the MCs and they had really good chemistry.The intrigue and political was pretty intense..a real roller coaster ride For me, there are 2 types of put downable books 1 put downable bec the story is not all that compelling and makes it easy to get distracted and not in a hurry to get back to it OR 2 the book is put downable because what is going on is so tension inducing, you have to put down the book and take a respite so that you can continue after a little relief by washing dishes, calling one s mother or reading something else altogether I was so keyed up by the book I had to take frequent breaks, often at a really critical point I really liked this heroine I felt that she was strong, unconventional and her own person BUT she still fit with the period She was aware of the drawbacks of the repercussions of the life she chose for the most part and did not spend time bickering with men or engaging in behavior that represents to me meritorious of a to me unfitting label of strong heroine.I still have one book in the series to read This one of 3 4 that I ve read is my favorite These books are pricey I am lucky to get bk 1 3 from the library If these books aren t readily available where you live but you want to try just one title, make this THE one. Donna Thorland is one of those writers who I know will give me a great adventure, a sexy romance and pitch perfect historical detail This time she takes the reader behind the scenes of the theatre during the American Revolution Our heroine, Jennifer Leighton, is a colonial playwright who dreams of having her plays performed on the London stage And when she hears that British General and playwright Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne is nearby, she devises a scheme to get her play in front of him But first she has to get past his handsome and ruthless Loyalist handler, Severin Devere As so often happens, things don t go according to plan and soon both Jenny and Severin are questioning their own loyalties and falling hopelessly in love in the process I loved the rich historical detail and the mix of real historical figures with fictional ones I d known a bit about Burgoyne but knew nothing of his writings, for instance And the details of life in Manhattan during the war were fascinating Both Jenny and Severin were well drawn characters and I appreciated how they came to feel than physical attraction for one another though that was smoking over the course of having their loyalties tested It made their bond that much stronger until their HEA became utterly inevitable The supporting characters were just as fascinating as the main pair and several had me wanting to reread all of Thorland s books Can t wait to see what she comes up with next Loved This book and series is amazing if you re looking for high quality and quantity of historical facts and feel in your romance This time period, 1776 American Revolutionary War, is sadly ignored right now, so it makes this series extra special The romance gets pushed to the side in favor of political dealings, the beginning is a little slow starting and the middle gets a bit meandering but the end finds itself as the historical and romance aspects finally find a happy marriage If you enjoy history and this time period at all, must read Just be willing to have the scales tipped towards the historical aspects. There are not enough books about the American Revolution or at least I can t get enough of them And when a writer of Donna Thorland s caliber takes the period on, you know you re in for a ride The hero is a BAMF, the heroine is than his match, the historical detail is lovely I have admittedly researched the era period since some of my manuscripts under the bed were set then Knowing some of the background already just ups the tension at certain points I devoured this book I had to think I ll have to wait another year for another installment Please tell me there will be one. The stars of the book for me were the two leads, Jenny and Severin The author characterized them as strong individuals who are caught up in the tides of war and revolution, doing an outstanding job in the process She also gave her secondary characters real life, making us live them rather than just read them.Jenny knew what she wanted out of life and never lost sight of that goal to utilize her writing as a method of support, monetarily and revolutionary I also liked that she knew she was in dangerous times so lived her life with no regrets That s a very appropriate mind set for such times and dangers, and I enjoyed it in her I liked that Severin had such a unique background, being half Indian yet a British officer It added a different dimension to his ultimate turning He was both dangerous and devoted in equal measure, two sides to a very unique man.Their relationship was well portrayed if a bit light I liked that the author didn t fall into the typical spy story trap for romance, having two leads assume the other is a traitor or a turncoat to them and so producing trust angst The two never really wavered in their ultimate trust in each other s motives, and I found that very refreshing I did find that the author seemed to focus a lot of their romantic storyline on sex and the physical aspects While that s not a negative in and of itself in a romance, too much of it can detract from the emotional side I still found enjoyment in the emotions and felt them deeply yet, having a sex scene or thoughts of one popping up often than not was a bit of a downer.The author s expertise in this historical period and her research shone through again, just like her previous installments for this series The small details of spying during the American Revolution and giving us a window into that gritty world makes the reader really live the story I personally had never heard of Simbury Prison and how it sort of let to the prison ships of Revolution fame I loved following Severin s and Jenny s story through the theaters, slums, and fervor of Revolutionary New York.A truly great addition to this series of American Revolution historical fiction romance works The author creates great romantic characters and puts them into a vivid world of danger, suspense, and spying Historical details pop so the reader experiences the story rather than just reading it While the reader sometimes slid into the physical side of love too often, that doesn t detract from the overall romance, which was a real treat Check this one out if you re looking for American Revolution historical fiction this author knows how to write and write well. When given the opportunity to read and review Mistress Firebrand, I was thrilled and jumped at the chance I ve read two others in Renegades of the Revolution series and fell in love with Donna Thorland s writing It took me longer to get through this one, not counting the week long flu at Christmas, but due to wanting to relish the settings, the characters, and watch every twist and turn unfold You can only read a book once for the first time As firsts and lasts, and everything in between, Mistress Firebrand was exactly as I d expected and , what I d hoped Romance, historical, espionage, and theater The research and descriptions are impeccable and lush, adding a layer to the characters and setting without coming across as daunting The year was 1777, and Jennifer Leighton was making her meager living in Manhattan As a thespian and playwright, Jenny hoped for bigger stages and acclaim as a woman in theater Living with her Aunt Frances, an accomplished actress in her own right, Jenny sought out avenues to make her dreams come to fruition in the form of a patron, the ambitious sybarite, General John Burgoyne Unfortunately, as patrons go, Burgoyne appears enad with Jenny but for completely different reasons Enter Burgoyne s right hand man, intelligence officer Severin Devere Ambitious in his own right, Devere is asked by Burgoyne to fetch the lovely Jenny from the theater, a request that puts events in motion to pit playwright against spy, battling against their hearts, governments, unfinished business, and one step away from their necks in a noose Once Jenny had experienced the upheaval of British occupation in her town, her loyalties were split Family before politics Jenny was given the opportunity to strike back under her mighty and wicked pen Her plays, cleverly acted out as anti British vitriol, caught like wildfire under the pen name Cordelia and earned her a place in The British Most Wanted List Who to find that person None other than our man of espionage, Severin Devere who would much rather keep her in his future Wanting what you can t have but try to have anyway Spies and wars Loyalties and family Excellent strong characters Can you see why I couldn t rush through this To what degree did the theater affect the Revolutionary War Thorland brings to light an interesting catalyst in the Revolutionary War The power of the theater In our modern day, media affords anyone with an internet connection an immediate source and outpouring of public sentiment, news, and politics In my lifetime, technology has shaped news immediacy Foreign are the days of 1777, where news was much, much slower A snail s pace in contrast to today s television, internet chat rooms and social media Our ancestors covertly printed and distributed mutinous and defiantly political materials, letters came across the sea to be passed about parties, whispered around shipyards, political plays were performed on stage and in parlors, and gossip was currency to merchants who sold you wares and goods at the markets Thorland did a wonderful job illustrating the theater as a key player in political circles A catalyst of sorts, contained by a catchy phrase or tune, or a dramatic satirical scene that made the commoner laugh and Generals stir to action These elements had the ability to turn popular good opinion into a cabbage throwing, tar and feathering racket or worse, life and death When tensions were high and armies blazed across the eastern states, a friendly town or village would mean success or life and death A key catalyst, like playwright Jennifer Leighton, was important for any army or political figure to garner public sympathy and fortification of positive reputation needed to defend political gain I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how the theater shaped the Revolutionary War in this seemingly innocuous but powerful way one that I hope is not lost in our histories Just as the others in the series this installment can be read as a standalone.Coming to a bookseller near you March 3rd, 2015Many thanks to NetGalley, Penguin Group, and author, Donna Thorland for the opportunity to read and review How does this series get better each time Fantastic installment of the Renegades of the Revolution. Find this and other reviews at ve been eyeing Donna Thorland s Renegades of the Revolution series since the publication of The Turncoat, but fitting the books into my schedule has been something of a challenge Till now that is For the record, the books are written as standalones and weren t published in chronological order, so feel free to start where you will I also encourage readers not to worry too much over the material Thorland s writing is wonderfully detailed, but easy to follow and she never overwhelms the narrative with lecture style exposition As far as the characters are concerned, I wasn t initially sold on Jennifer Leighton, but she grew on me and I became quite fond of her by the end of the novel Severin Devere, on the other hand, proved an engaging rouge from the start Frances enjoys a supporting role, but I loved the passion Thorland embedded in her character and words can t describe my enchantment with the enigmatic Angela Ferrers.Historically, Thorland paints New York as a political battleground and I found her interpretation intensely interesting The action is brisk and incredibly addictive, but the story itself highlights the struggles of those living in a city under occupation Power shifts frequently and the growing unrest makes it difficult to discern friend from foe and I really liked how Thorland manipulated that principle to her advantage.I admit it took me a few chapters to get into the book, but I once I did I found the novel almost impossible to put down Dramatic, clever, entertaining and provocative, Mistress Firebrand isn t to be missed.