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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Muskets and Minuets by Lindsey Susan Fera is a historical fiction epic that revolves around an 18th-century tomboy named Annalisa Howlett. Set in colonial America in the years preceding the American Revolution, Annalisa is having none of the restrictions placed on her as a teenager of the time. Annalisa's devoted brother George gives his wayward sister a musket that satiates her desire to be officially rebellious and, in time, she refuses to be shackled by the construct of gender while the men “fight for freedoms we have not...” Jack is George's cousin, and Jack struggles to see past Annalisa's gorgeous but morally bankrupt sister Jane. Over several years the characters grow up and continue to intersect as, of course, they are family. Annalisa does take up arms, and through the point of view of the female lead, we can witness America fighting for the same independence as Annalisa.
Just by reading Muskets and Minuets, my vocabulary increased by morbid flux and zounds. Lindsey Susan Fera has opened up an entire world of dirty slang of the 1700s and this is reason enough to read her novel. Luckily for us, it is also well written, cinematically descriptive of period details, and has all of the angst one would expect in a story of teen revolutionaries, some of whom participated in the Boston Tea Party. There are serious moments with very serious themes, and the book deals with sexual assault and the horrific infamy of pre-revolutionary tarring with appropriate forbearance. I enjoyed that Annalisa was authentically passionate about her desires in step with her time and never comes across as a 21st-century teenager stuffed into a corset. I loved Jack and the chemistry between Annalisa and Jack is intense, but my goodness did they make me want to fire a fowler indiscriminately. So many misunderstandings, miscommunications, and a love triangle that feels like a decagon gone rogue. It's a rough ride but a good one, and I enjoyed every page of it.