THIS DAY IS OURS follows a complex, politically charged plot set in 18th-century Philadelphia. Jack Flash—really Dalton Jameson—is a Robin Hood-esque thief who steals from Loyalists to give to the American cause. A bungled burglary in the home of a powerful gentleman brings the recently widowed and high-born Alexandra Pennington into his world. So begins a story of confused identities that could have quickly spiraled, but instead weaves a complex, grown-up story of love, country, and second chances. Our protagonists meet properly in society and bond over a mutual love of horses. Against odds of rank and class, they form a genuine connection. Alexandra’s suitor, an enemy of Dalton’s, does not take kindly to competition and vows to make her his, forming a side plot all its own.
Author Gretchen Jeannette’s characterizations shine best in ensemble, with a colorful cast of supporting characters and compelling motivations. Dalton is a great example of an underdog hero with a heart of gold; Alexandra is unfortunately the told-but-not-shown “amazing woman”; but it’s perhaps the story’s villain who seems the most real, and horribly timeless. Jeanette’s pacing is precise, so when Dalton and Alexandra do come together, it’s done maturely and believably. But this isn’t a simple you-fall-in-love happily-ever-after tale, war is brewing on two fronts: personal and national. Unsurprisingly, Dalton joins Washington’s men, leaving tepid Loyalist Alexandra behind to wait with changing political views and a growing love. Glimpses at Founding Fathers throughout make for interesting portraits, but it’s the long battle scenes and details of camp life that will please history buffs.
There are many turns and digressions that bulk up this novel into a realistic portrait of life in late-1700s America, and a heartfelt love story. But it could use a healthy dose of editing to decide its main drive. Instead, there are two separate themes: the historical details saturating every page and retellings of famous battles, like Monmouth, pull the story strongly towards straightforward historical fiction, while Alexandra and Dalton’s slow-burn love story of two very different people building a relationship against the odds is absolutely a classic romance. THIS DAY IS OURS might not be for the traditional romance reader, but Jeannette’s skill is obvious in the subtle cruelties of her villains, historical accuracy, and the heartfelt evolution of her characters.
THIS DAY IS OURS is the rare realistic historical romance, blessedly devoid of insta-love, though Gretchen Jeannette’s historical details and American Revolutionary battle scenes sometimes overshadow the romance.
~Remy Poore for IndieReader