This is the fourth Petken novel I've read and it will be far from the last. Her work is detailed, very character driven and her research, to my mind, is as good as anyone I've read who writes historical fiction. The four books I've read to date, cover diverse and differing periods of human history; from the Spanish Inquisition (The Errant Flock) to the U.S. Civil War (Dark Shadows), to World War I (Swearing Allegiance), to the Spanish Civil War (Guardian of Secrets). Her forte appears to be romance in the midst of conflict and it is something she does brilliantly. She has received numerous awards to date and I have little doubt more will flow for this talented woman.
Swearing Allegiance is set during World War I, but focuses principally on the Carmody family, an Irish family and their struggle to pursue Irish Independence, beginning with the 1915, Irish uprising. I loved the characters in this novel. They were so real and their struggles to find love and happiness amongst the terrors and slaughter of World War I endear them to the reader. There is an element of the ubiquitous loveable Irish rascal character about the children in this family, which was very endearing. Their father was Irish, but their mother was English and during World War I, when millions of British lives were being slaughtered or wounded, the distinction between Irish and English was as marked as it has ever been in British history.
When the book ended I really did have one of those; "DAMN!" moments. I didn't want to leave these characters. I wanted to find out what will happen next. I am reassured to know there will be another story, at least, in the Carmody Saga.
I can only implore discerning readers who have yet to sample this wonderful author to give her books a real try. If you love historical fiction, you will love Jana Petken's novels. They are the equal, if not the better, than anything I've seen in this genre from ANY legacy published author. I am an enormous fan of this author, as I guess you will have gathered by now.
I look forward to reading many more stories from this author's exceptional literary brain, in the years to come. Just keep churning them out - as long as they are as good as your work to date, they'll be amazing.
No question about this one - Swearing Allegiance is a 5-Star novel, all the way.
Check out all Jana Petken's work here: http://amzn.to/1R5g3UI