Christine Blevins

Historical Fiction

Readers Guide – The Turning of Anne Merrick

  1. “It’s the least likely who make the best of spies.” What are some of the differences in skills, social standing, religion and character that aided the various spies in this story in their pursuit of intelligence.
  2. “Aye, Annie—make yourself pleasant, and I’ll commence baking,” Sally said. “Time for us t’ go a-soldiering.” Discuss the frustrations Anne felt in serving her country. Compare Anne’s situation to issues faced by modern-day women in service.
  3. How do you think Anne and Sally’s attitudes might have been affected by their proximity to and relationship with the enemy while following Burgoyne’s army?
  4. “Beware, Mr. Cunningham, the woman is an arch deceptress. There is no correspondence between her fair face and her foul heart.” Anne wrestles with the sins she has committed and continues to commit in the name of her cause. Can deceit ever be good? Name the consequences – good and bad – for the deceivers in this story.
  5. The slave woman, Pink Dunaway, grieves the death of her master, and balks when given her freedom. Was this a rational reaction? How would you react to such a sudden change in status?
  6. Anne and Sally are often parted from their men over the course of the war. In the eighteenth century, British and German soldier wives and children routinely follow husbands and fathers from garrison to battlefield. What are some of the benefits inherent in having women travel with the army? The detriments?
  7. Can imaginative storytelling enhance the understanding of history? Discuss the differences between reading a work of historical fiction based on American history, and the history one learns in school.
  8. “Our army is outmatched and outgunned at every turn and sorely lacks supply and matériel. Our soldiers are daily deserting by the drove. The only way we can ever hope to defeat the British Empire is by our wits…” The Patriots resorted to unconventional methods in their fight against the British such as the use of snipers to target officers, guerrilla warfare, and scorched earth tactics considered immoral and akin to modern day terrorism. The British are equally brutal in their use of Indian raiders, and the horrific mistreatment of prisoners of war. Have the notions of civilized warfare and rules of war changed from the eighteenth to twenty-first centuries? How?
  9. Edward Blankenship is a monster of Anne’s making, his rage fueled by his thirst for revenge. Do you think she deserves the consequences for action taken for higher cause?
  10. What do you think is the meaning behind the title of this book?