Take a modern woman and throw her three hundred years back in time. Add a tall and handsome man with enough emotional baggage to load a bus or two. Stir. Throw in an explosive historical setting, complete with religious persecution and political instability. Stir some more. (You may want to add some salt – up to you) Spice things up with infected family relationships, temporary slavery, enforced emigration and the risks of colonising the American wilderness, and you end up with The Graham Saga, the story of Alex and Matthew, two people who should never have met – not when she was born three centuries after him.
I guess either you like the idea of time travelling or you don’t. Personally, I am fascinated by the concept, which is why Alex was sent tumbling through time to begin with. She is not always appropriately grateful – and this despite me compensating her with a man who loves her to death, has the most magnificent hazel eyes and a physique that would make most women salivate. Matthew, however, rarely goes through a day without sending of a grateful prayer to God, thanking him for this stubborn, enervating, brave and utterly wonderful wife. Obviously, Matthew has more sense than Alex does.
I derive great pleasure from following Alex and Matthew through life, depicting a relationship that grows from strength to strength. Do they always agree? No way! There are definitely plenty of times when Alex is tempted to whack her old-fashioned man over the head with a skillet. And sometimes Matthew’s hands itch with the need to take her over his knees and spank her. Is there passion? Oh yes! Those two can definitely set a bed on fire. But there is also tenderness and loyalty, a certainty that they belong together, cannot quite function without each other, despite their individual strengths. Which is why, of course, where one goes there goes the other, no matter the risks involved.
In Whither Thou Goest, Matthew and Alex set off on a rescue mission to the Caribbean. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? That’s because you’re thinking of surf and sun, calypso on the beach and nice leisurely meals in the shade. The 17th century reality is somewhat different. What swimming Alex does, she does involuntarily – and in the middle of the night – as Matthew would never dream of allowing his woman to parade herself half naked on a beach in full daylight. Besides, they’re not on Barbados for a holiday. They’re there to save Charlie.
Charlie is Matthew’s nephew, a young man neither Matthew nor Alex have ever seen. After all, Matthew has a complex relationship with his brother (“Complex?” Alex snorts. “Luke Graham is the bastard who sold him as a slave, remember?”) and as far as Matthew goes, he would prefer never to see or hear from Luke again. But blood is thicker than water, and Matthew has far too many uncomfortable memories of his own time as an indentured servant to be able to leave Charlie to his fate.
As to how Charlie has ended up on Barbados as a slave, well, it all comes down to politics. Charlie has many qualities, but shows distinct lack of judgement when he joins the Duke of Monmouth in his doomed rebellion against James II. The duke was executed. In fact, very, very many of the rebels were executed. Some, however, were sold as slaves in the West Indies. Like Charlie, who goes from being the pampered only son of a (very) rich man, to being the lowest of the low on a sugar plantation.
Matthew’s and Alex’s expedition turns out very adventurous. Undercover spies, former pirates, abusive slave owners, murderous chess players – you name it, they meet it. Fortunately, Matthew knows how to handle a sword. Alex can kick like a mule if she has to. And no matter what they face, they face it together, a formidable team that never, ever give up.
As to how things turn out, I guess you will have to read the book!
Anna Belfrage combines an exciting day-job as the CEO of a multinational listed group with her writing endeavours. When she isn’t writing a novel, she is probably working on a post or catching up on her reading. Other than work and writing, Anna finds time to bake (awesome carrot-cake) and drink copious amounts of tea, preferably with a chocolaty nibble on the side. And yes, now and then she is known to visit a gym as a consequence…
About the Author
I was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical – both non-fiction and fiction.
I was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive … Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred.
I was always going to be a writer. Now I am – I have achieved my dream.
About the Book
Whither Thou Goest is the seventh book in Anna Belfrage’s series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.
In their rural home in the Colony of Maryland, Matthew and Alex Graham are still recovering from the awful events of the previous years when Luke Graham, Matthew’s estranged brother, asks them for a favour.
Alex has no problems whatsoever ignoring Luke’s sad plea for help. In her opinion Matthew’s brother is an evil excuse of a man who deserves whatever nasty stuff fate throws at him. Except, as Matthew points out, Luke is begging them to save his son – his misled Charlie, one of the Monmouth rebels – and can Charlie Graham be held responsible for his father’s ill deeds?
So off they go on yet another adventure, this time to the West Indies to find a young man neither of them knows but who faces imminent death on a sugar plantation, condemned to slavery for treason. The journey is hazardous and along the way Alex comes face to face with a most disturbing ghost from her previous life, a man she would much have preferred never to have met.
Time is running out for Charlie Graham, Matthew is haunted by reawakened memories of his days as an indentured servant, and then there’s the eerie Mr Brown, Charlie’s new owner, who will do anything to keep his secrets safe, anything at all.
Will Matthew deliver his nephew from imminent death? And will they ever make it back home?
Pages: 390 pages
Publisher: SilverWood Books (November 1, 2014)
Graham Saga Titles
Book One: A Rip in the Veil
Book Two: Like Chaff in the Wind
Book Three: The Prodigal Son
Book Four: A Newfound Land
Book Five: Serpents in the Garden
Book Six: Revenge & Retribution
Book Seven: Whither Thou Goest
Book Eight: To Catch a Falling Star (March 2015)