A Devil of a Time

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
473 Pages
Reviewed on 01/23/2017
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Author Biography

Hello Friends! Thank you for your interest in my novels.

I ​live and work in Chester County, Pennsylvania, an area rich in Revolutionary War and Colonial American history. My enduring interest in 18th Century America began at a young age, inspired by the novels of Dale Van Every and Allan Eckert, whose timeless tales of adventure and romance capture the essence of early American lore. Eager to read more such stories, to my disappointment I had trouble finding them on bookshelves, so I decided to write one of my own. Thus began a journey fueled by my passion to breathe life into history through believable characters, plots woven with adventure, romance and suspense and, of course, plenty of derring-do.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

A Devil of a Time by Gretchen Jeannette is fiction with powerful characters that are capable of seducing readers and owning their hearts. Yes, I mean just that! Captain Niall McLane might think he has survived the worst that could happen to any man, but his captivity is just the beginning of his woes. There is a killer on the loose and it just happens that Niall becomes one of the prime suspects. To make matters worse, the killer seems to target those closest to Niall. Now with suspicions against him, Niall has to use his wit and skills to stay out of jail while working hard to find the killer before he strikes again. This could sound like an ordinary story; a cliché in crime fiction, but there is a gorgeous twist that will take readers by surprise — there is a woman who changes the plot entirely.

I adored this book, and there is no overstatement in this! Gretchen Jeannette is an author with the rare skill that allows her to combine fiction with historical references to weave a tale that will mesmerize readers. Niall is a character that readers will love, and the presence of a drunk with a gorgeous wife in the story will create a lot of suspense and interest. The writing is graceful, somewhat evocative, and absorbing; the narrative voice is clear and tantalizing. I enjoyed how the author uses suspense to toy with the emotions of readers. I enjoyed the perfect development of conflict, which escalates quickly. A Devil of a Time is a page-turner, really hard to put down. Great storyline, compelling characters.

Chris Fischer

Author Gretchen Jeannette, in A Devil of a Time, offers her readers an exciting and adventurous tale of love, mystery and intrigue; one that many will find difficult to put down once they start it. Protagonist Captain Niall McLane, a man with a dark past, filled with his days battling in the Revolutionary War as well as his time as a brutal Indian fighter and scalp taker, finds himself in a fight for his life that he never could have anticipated. He's being accused of a savage murder, and has few willing to stand up for him. His only friends, drunk Andrew Wade and Andrew's wife, Clarice, whom Niall secretly loves, are willing to help him, but Niall soon realizes that they will likely come to harm from the real murderer if they remain close to him. Niall is willing to do anything he can to keep Clarice safe, and knows he will need to find and confront the real killer before it's too late.

A Devil of a Time is truly a great work of historical fiction, and this comes from a reader who reads a lot of it. Author Gretchen Jeannette has done a great job of providing well researched and historically accurate details to make her story feel very authentic. Her characters are vividly drawn and very compelling, especially lead character Niall McLane. Readers who enjoy historical fiction will really enjoy this book. Other readers who like mysteries or exciting reads will also find that this book has a lot to offer. I can easily give this book my highest recommendation and will look for more work by author Gretchen Jeannette as well!

Tracy Slowiak

In an excellent work of historical fiction by author Gretchen Jeannette, A Devil of a Time is a story that will suck readers in from the very start and keep them obsessively turning the pages all the way through to the very end! Follow the story of Captain Niall McLane, a man who has been scarred by his experiences in the Revolutionary War, including that of being held captive. When he survives all that only to be accused of a murder he didn’t commit, he’s left feeling that all might be lost. His background as an Indian scalp hunter certainly doesn’t help his cause, and few stand with him, especially when the real murderer appears to be targeting those he holds closest. The only allies that Niall has left are Andrew and Clarice Wade. Andrew is tormented by his own demon, namely alcohol, and Niall lives with a secret love for Clarice, complicating their relationship even more. When Niall realizes that the murderer may be setting his sights on Clarice as his next victim, he’s determined to solve this mystery, save his beloved, and exonerate himself once and for all. Will he succeed in his mission or die trying? You’ll need to read the book to find out!

I very much enjoyed A Devil of a Time. Author Gretchen Jeannette has done a fantastic job in creating characters that her readers will connect with, relate to, and truly come to care about. If that isn’t a hallmark of a great author, I’m not sure what is. Her settings are realistic and believable, and history buffs and the average reader alike will appreciate her attention to detail. Any reader who enjoys historical fiction, action, adventure, mysteries, romance, or just a great read of fiction in general should definitely grab this book. I am very pleased to highly recommend A Devil of a Time, and look forward to reading more from the talented author, Gretchen Jeannette, as soon as I possibly can!

Sherri Fulmer Moorer

In America's early days during the Revolutionary War, more battles emerge outside of the battlefield. Niall McLane escapes Shawnee Indian captivity to fight in the war, only to have his post-traumatic stress get the better of him. While wandering through Virginia in search of life after his discharge, he runs into an old friend from the battlefield: Andrew Wade, a plantation owner who turned into a drunkard after abandoning the battle and later losing his son. He hopes that Niall can bring him back to life and save his crumbling marriage to Clarice, his beautiful wife. But when murders take place in the town, Niall is immediately suspected because of his dark past. What unfolds is a tale of the darkness of the soul, redemption, and recovery. A Devil of a Time by Gretchen Jeannette is an exciting historical tale of mystery, intrigue, and romance.

This is the first historical novel I've read in a long time, and I was greatly impressed. Gretchen Jeannette weaves an intriguing tale that's not only historically accurate, but interesting and captivating. Clarice and Andrew are especially interesting as their attempt to cope with Andrew's injury and the loss of their son spirals them in different directions. Niall provides an interesting contrast as he attempts to conquer his demons not through drink (as Andrew does), but through rebuilding his life, despite the expectations of others. The romantic tension created by this triangle against the backdrop of the struggling owners and plantation provide a mesmerizing tale of intrigue. A Devil of a Time is a great novel that will keep you reading through the last page, and wishing for more.

Susan Sewell

A Devil of a Time by Gretchen Jeannette is an intriguing historical fiction novel set at the end of the Revolutionary War era. Captain Niall McLane had a gruesome past with the Shawnee Indians. He has devoted his life to making them pay for the savage and sadistic acts they committed against his father. Niall has made a name and reputation for himself in regards to his fierce and ruthless pursuance of his enemies. With his combat experience and his innate abilities for tracking, hunting and capturing his prey, Captain Niall McLane is an asset to the Continental Army. However, after a battle is won and Niall temporarily loses his reason, he resigns his commission from the Army. His reputation behind him, Niall is considered slightly unbalanced and dangerous. Andrew Wade, a veteran of wilderness warfare waged along the Ohio River in Kentucky, and one of Niall's comrades, knows better. Andrew hires Niall as a foreman for his failing tobacco plantation. While helping Andrew and Clarice, Andrew's enchanting wife, get their plantation back on its feet, a grisly murder is committed, and Niall is the Sheriff's chief suspect. Clarice and Andrew are two of a few who really know Niall, but with evidence pointing at Niall and in light of his murderous reputation, how can they prove that he is innocent?

A Devil of a Time by Gretchen Jeannette is an intoxicating historical fiction novel that will fascinate the reader from the first page. Seduced by the irresistible characters, the reader is caught and held ensnared by the developing intrigue of the storyline. As the story unfolds, the plot builds to a dramatic and stunning climax and comes to an impeccable conclusion. It is a suspenseful and thrilling story filled with drama from a pivotal era in history. It contains twists and turns that include murder, seduction, loyalty, and romance. It is an excellent portrayal of heroism shown in trying times by moral characters. This is an exceptional historical fiction novel that will delight adult readers who love intrigue. It is more suited for those over the age of sixteen due to the sensual content and a few indelicate words.

Ellie Midwood

Another amazing, highly compelling story from Gretchen Jeannette! I became Ms. Jeannette’s fan after I read “The Devil Take Tomorrow,” but after reading “A Devil of a Time” I can say with certainty that I will read everything she writes – it was that good!
“A Devil of a Time” takes place during the American Revolutionary War, and from page one it was obvious that the author put an immense amount of time into her research. The setting, the atmosphere, the costumes, lifestyle and dialogue were presented with impeccable authenticity, and with such vividness that I felt myself immersed into the novel and almost saw the events unfold right in front of my eyes.
As always, the main protagonists – both Niall and Clarice – were presented in such a way that a reader instantly feels connected with them. Both fight their own demons: Niall is haunted by his horrifying past of captivity of the Indians, after which a true beast had taken a root inside of him with an insatiable greed for revenge; Clarice is struggling to put the whole tobacco plantation on her shoulders while her husband Andrew drinks himself into oblivion and becomes more and more abusive day by day. Andrew and Niall share a common past; the two men meet again and Andrew offers him a position of an overseer on his plantation, which eventually changes the lives of all three of them. Soon a vicious killer strikes near the plantation, and suspicion falls onto an infamous “Shawnee killer” – Niall…
Incredibly suspenseful and impossible to put down, “A Devil of a Time” is definitely a must read for all lovers of historical fiction genre. Five huge stars!

Cary Jackson

This story grabbed me from the first chapter and never let go. It’s a dark tale of vengeance woven into the climax of the American Revolution in Virginia. The hero, Niall McLane, a former Continental Army officer suffering the emotional scars of a brutal past, sets out to begin a new life in the aftermath of the war. But a vicious enemy has plans for not only Niall but also anyone close to him, including the woman Niall loves.

The originality of this story fascinated me. I’ve never read anything quite like it. The author expertly captures the time period, in both dialogue and narrative, so that I never felt I was anywhere other than 18th Century Virginia. The intriguing characters, the complex plot, the thrilling blend of action, adventure, suspense and romance left me wanting more once the book ended. This hard-hitting tale will not disappoint even the most selective reader of 18th Century fiction.

B. Duane Whitlow

Set in Williamsburg, VA in the late 1700s during the end and post-revolutionary war days, “A Devil of a Time” by Gretchen Jeannette is about the Andrew Wade family of Fairview Plantation. Primary characters are Andrew Wade and his wife, Clarice. Unfortunately, Andrew has returned from the Indian wars physically hurt and depressed. He turns to drink, neglects his wife and ignores the plantation.

Enter Niall McLane, Andrews superior and protector during the Indian wars, who becomes the overseer of Fairview Plantation, saving the property from foreclosure and falling in love with Clarice.

Enter Roger, a neglected orphan boy. He admires McLane to a fault and also falls in love with Clarice, making for a devil of a threesome.

I highly recommend “A Devil of a Time”. It is well written, has good character development and information about the time and place in history.

Noelle Riches

My favourite of her two books (though I loved Devil Take Tomorrow too). Started a bit slow, but I actually liked the slow build, and don't worry, it gets there:). The characters are very well developed and I liked how she didn't treat the characters or the plot twists with kid gloves. Also a great amount of detail and research into the history of the time and even though I've never had much interest in the Revolutionary War (I'm Canadian, what can I say?), I found myself getting into it. Would definitely read more of her stuff (so...when's the next one??) and would definitely recommend to friends.

J. B. Porter

After reading Gretchen Jeannette's amazing first book "The Devil Take Tomorrow", I immediately ordered "A Devil of a Time"! Again, I was treated to a very special reading experience! The characters literally come alive as Gretchen paints a beautiful portrait of an exciting time in the growth of our Nation! Her robust style continues to stun! I now have another book to recommend to friends and family. Both these books are ones you want to have as apart of your permanent library......so I ordered both in hardcopy and they are happily in a special place on my bookshelf.

Thanks so much, Gretchen and I can't wait to read "This Day is Ours"!!

Michele B.

could not put this book down! Ms. Jeanette's vividly descriptive writing style took me on an adventure. I felt like I was watching rather than reading the wonderful story of Captain Niall McLane and Clarice Wade.

It is very obvious that the author has a love of history and has thoroughly researched colonial times. If you are a fan of historical fiction - this is a must read!

Shell Lady

This was another great purchase because this book totally entertained me. I loved the characters and how the author made them come alive. I kept checking my progress as I read through this book because I did not want the book to end! I highly recommend the purchase of this book.

Jennifer Walls

Gretchen Jeanette is an outstanding author and this book continues her ability to pull you into her characters' lives. Her character development and historical accuracy are outstanding and the storyline keeps you on the edge of your seat. I finished this book and I can't wait for her next one!

J. C. Jackson

Gretchen Jeannette has done it again. I rarely find an author who can follow a truly great first book (“The Devil Take Tomorrow”) with an equally fine read, but “A Devil of a Time” is that and more. Set in Virginia at the close of the American Revolution, this gripping tale weaves suspense, romance, action, and history into an entertaining tour de force that rivets from the start and never lets go. Wholly convincing characters both stir the heart and unsettle the emotions as they emerge from an era brought vividly to life. With each page turned, the plot draws you deeper into a maze of twists and surprises until you’re so deeply hooked that you can’t wait to reach the shocking conclusion. Be prepared—it will keep you up all night.

Sarah Everingham

A Devil of a Time takes place primarily around the Wade plantation in Virginia when the inhabitants feared outside soldiers, Native Americans and contagious infections among other things. Andrew Wade has returned from a horrific ambush when more tragedy strikes. His wife, Clarice, is working hard to keep it together as she also has run into some hardships. One thing leads to another and Andrew runs into an old comrade Captain Niall McLane who he hires to oversee his plantation. However, it’s apparent there is an issue when there is a murder on the plantation, the sheriff starts snooping too close for comfort, and suddenly friends are dropping left and right. Who is killing everyone? Is it someone right under their nose? Will they be able to face the truth or will it quite literally kill them?

One of the things I appreciate most about this book is how deep you feel the pain and suffering of the characters. They have been through some really damaging situations. Gretchen Jeannette‘s ability to bring out that deep darkness through the text and yet show peeks of other sides of the characters’ personalities is something I crave in a good book. Clarice and Niall’s understanding and connection can be felt as if they are old friends of mine. I also really appreciated a historical romance with mystery to it. I did not guess right away who the killer was!

A word of awareness to readers, this book is graphic in a couple of spots including the very beginning of the book. While it is graphic, I found it to be historically accurate and the author did not shy away from it.

All in all, I highly recommend A Devil of a Time. It’s got a killer on the loose, a festering love connection and deep unbridled pain.

Joshua Grant

The end of 18th century America and the start of the United States was a turbulent time, to say the least. Strained and occasionally violent relations between colonial settlers and American Indians. Human rights issues over slavery and the treatment of women. And then there was the minor hiccup of an all out war with the largest empire to ever grace the Earth. Throw in a splash of romance, and a healthy dose of action and you get Gretchen Jeannette’s A Devil of a Time.

I was stricken by Jeannette’s ability to bring a long-dead time period to life. Her characters were realistic and actually felt like they existed in the late 1700s. There was Andrew Wade, a timid military man broken by an early trauma. Clarice Wade (my favorite) the bold wife of Andrew who the story hinges on. And Niall, the enigmatic war-weary shell of a man. All are trying to navigate the turbulent sea that was the Revolutionary War and post-war transition. The way Jeannette wove the narrative of the time through the lives of these three was both masterful and gripping and I can’t wait to see what period she tackles next!

I’d recommend this to any lovers of American history.

Chef Joel

"A Devil of a Time" by Gretchen Jeanette is a well-written and researched romantic suspense novel set in the waning days of the Revolutionary War. I especially liked how the author brought Colonial Williamsburg and the nearby Fairview Plantation to life with vivid descriptions. I could see the glittering balls, taste the local delicacies, hear the stately music and feel the dancers pirouetting around the dance floor.

The main characters are well-drawn and the dialog works (which is one of the hardest parts of writing historical fiction). Trying to make your characters talk like Jefferson or Washington can sound pompous or hard to follow; while using modern vernacular can destroy the mood. Ms. Jeanette threads the needle by sprinkling period words and phrases into her dialog to add an air of authenticity.

The plot is a familiar one based on the age-old conflict between love and duty. Can the hero and heroine gain true love without betraying their honor?

If you like romance novels full of hard-hitting action with heroines tougher than nails, then "A Devil of a Time" may be the book for you. I must caution parents however, that this novel is not recommended for children due to graphic violence and sex.

Jean Wilde

I loved this book! I was hooked from the start by the author's detailed description of 18th century America and the wonderfully complex characters. None of the characters in this book were black and white, they were shades upon shades of grey, battling ghosts of their past while trying to find peace with their present. I liked all the characters and enjoyed how the author would show several POVs (points of view) not just that of the hero and heroine of the story. It might have been a bit jumpy at times but I enjoyed learning the different characters' thoughts.

I was completely transported into another time and place. I've learnt a lot more about the growing of tobacco in the 1700s, and quite a bit of American history as well :) the romance was slow-building but sweet. I also liked how the author gave one main character a chance to redeem himself.

The in-depth research and writing were top-notch. I highly recommend this book.


I found the story to be so very engaging!! I am always involved in stories that involve strong female characters trying to assimilate and follow the rules of society but at the same time holding strong opinions and value systems- this describes the main character, Clarice. Her character is well developed and I very much admired her fortitude and resilience. The plot is full of suspense. I found myself reading well into the night to finish “ just one more chapter” and the climax of the novel was gripping! I will say there was quite a bit of bloodshed and violence, however, I did not find it to be gratuitous. I think that it was necessary to develop the plot and character motivation. Just straight up good reading!!!!

Sharon V. Unruh

After reading Gretchen Jeannette's first book "The Devil Take Tomorrow", I couldn't wait to read her next one. It was well worth the wait. "A Devil of a Time" is just as good, if not better. The plot was unpredictable and kept me guessing from start to finish. The historical settings were wonderful and the characters totally believable and well drawn. The relationship that develops between the hero, Niall and the heroine Clarice, has just the right amount of romance in it. There is much more to this book than a love story. The plot kept my interest and I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. The explosive ending ---the clash between good and evil, was extremely satisfying. I was sad when the story ended. It was a thrilling ride.

If you are looking for something different to read, a book filled with action and suspense, unforgettable characters with a unique historical flair, I highly recommend this book.

Ralph L. Haney

Loved this second book by Gretchen. History, romance, adventure. Characters so well developed. Played like a movie in my mind.


There is no question that the author should be commended for recreating, most effectively, life in 1780s Virginia. Her detailed descriptions really made the location and times come to life with rare vividness.

The tale is a fairly traditional one: of bravery, cowardice, love, lust, revenge, madness and ultimately redemption. There’s even a dramatic courtroom episode. A fine array of characters, although arguably separated too frequently into obvious good and bad guys, is deployed to take the reader on a dramatic journey.

I had read in advance that the novel was somewhat violent, but that didn’t really prepare me for its frequent and graphic depiction. It may well have been a regular feature of life back then, but I’m not convinced that the reader of today needs to have it described in detail, so frequently and with such relish. A hint or a suggestion can be just as effective.

I was also a little concerned about the depiction of the Shawnee. I’m no expert on Native American culture, but I’m sure there was much more to it than that depicted here. I was also not convinced by the writer’s tactic of revealing the identity of the killer so matter of factly and so early. I wonder whether or not the added suspense of keeping his identity secret would have enhanced to the enjoyment of the book.

Nevertheless, a well-written book that certainly retained this reader’s interest. I debated whether 3* or 4*, but in the end decided it would be unfair to penalise it because I don’t like graphic violence, So, 4* it is.


I did enjoy A Devil Of A Time by Gretchen Jeannette and how she vividly brings to life the colonial era and makes the characters, with their trials and tribulations seem very real and believable.

Andrew and Clarice Wade were newlyweds when he volunteered to go to Spanish territory to secure gun powder as requested by his friend, the Governor of Virginia to aid in the Revolutionary War. Andrew is unfamiliar with the wild unsettled territory through which they must travel and has been assigned to go with a company of soldiers including famed Niall McLane, who has fought in the Indian Wars, protecting rural settlements from attack. Andrew and Niall's group ends up getting ambushed by a band of Shawnee warriors and if not for Niall's bravery, would have died.

Fast forward a few years, and Andrew is back home with his wife Clarice and their son William, but still battles himself in his mind, badgering himself daily over his cowardice and the resulting injury he had sustained at the hands of the Indians, self-medicates with alcohol most of the time. He creates a vicious cycle of self-pity, drinking, disappointing his wife and shirking responsibility. He runs into his old friend and protector Niall, who lately has developed a notorious reputation for losing his temper, revenge and extreme violence once provoked. Granted, much of that is due to extreme trauma and living for years a lifestyle of kill- or- be- killed. Andrew offers Niall a job as an overseer of his tobacco plantation, hoping super-efficient Niall will be the answer to his prayers, saving the plantation from ruin and placating his wife.

Upon Niall taking the position, he hires Roger, a disadvantaged youth who has for all of his young years been mistreated and maligned for a wine-stain birthmark covering half his face. The story is full of action, romance, suspense, a serial killer on the loose and a sheriff bent on seeing Niall hang. If you enjoy historical romance or suspense, you would enjoy A Devil Of A Time.

Cheryl Duffy

Wow! I really found this book completely engaging. Clarice is a very well developed character. I quickly found myself pulling for her and admiring her fortitude. The twists and turns in the plot kept me guessing. The climax literally had me sitting on the edge of my seat avoiding the pile of work I had to do!

As a disclaimer, the story does contain a fair amount of bloodshed and violence however I did not find it to be gratuitous, it was central to plot and character motivation.

Ebook Planet

A Devil of a Time tells the story of Captain Niall McClane - a murder suspect with a reputation as a ruthless scalp hunter that does not lessen the suspicion against him. As the true killer runs rampant, Niall becomes trapped in a love triangle with his drunken friend, Andrew, and his wife, Clarice. What ensues is a sweeping tale of mystery, romance, and danger amidst the backdrop of Virginia in the 1700's.

The first thing that will strike you about this book is the immaculate writing quality with a wonderful flow that lends to the epic feel. The time period has been authentically captured, and each location is so tangible that your imagination will truly be taken on an adventure. The settings alone are enough reason to read the book, but it is the fantastic plot and interplay between the three characters that really bring this novel up to the gold standard.

The trio has a charisma that makes them jump out of the page, such is the quality of the dialogue, and the way the author builds suspense all the way to the dramatic climax makes this one hell of a fulfilling read.

I understand this is only Gretchen Jeanette's second novel, yet she displays the hallmarks of a master of her craft. This truly is an exemplary piece of work and I cannot recommend it highly enough.