Sunfire Romance Novels
In the 80s, the world was lit by Sunfire!

Sabrina Quick Notes

Sunfire #17 is Sabrina by Candice F. Ransom. In the short-format books, instead of a sample chapter for the next book, there is a short synopsis. The synopsis for Sabrina, which appeared at the end of Megan, is as follows:Coming next from Sunfire: SABRINA. a beautiful girl who spies and loves during the American Revolution.

Sabrina Front Cover

Frong Cover Blurb: To be a Patriot must she betray the man she loves? (NOTE: There should really be a comma a after “Patriot,” but there’s not.)

Back Cover Blurb: Her country asks her to risk her life. Can she find the courage to do it?

Main Character: Sabrina Robbins, 16; curly black “gypsy” hair, aquamarine blue eyes that her aunt finds disconcerting. Sabrina is an orphan who has been raised by her father’s cousin, a pharmacist (or “chemist”) who she calls Uncle Phineas, and his wife, Agnes. But Sabrina always feels like the poor relation next to their daughter, socialite-in-training Mercy. Sabrina wears worn ugly gowns while Mercy has ball gowns. Sabrina works in the pharmacy while Mercy goes to finishing school. The only person who makes Sabrina feel special is her steady beau, Martin. But while Sabrina is a staunch Patriot, Martin is a Tory.

Suitor #1: Martin Cresswell, 18; wheat-blonde hair, gray eyes. He is a Tory (British Sympathizer) and a private in “Butcher” Tarleton’s regiment. He is easily identified by his screaming-green jacket, a specific color of clothing to identify Tories. Martin may be the best-developed character in this book. He is torn every which way. He believes in the British government, but doesn’t feel as though he would belong in Britain, as he was born in North America. He wants to stay in America, but doesn’t want to fight for independence. He wants to be a good man, but does that mean following orders or saving the life of an enemy?

Suitor #2: Richard Taylor, described as “Martin’s age or a little older,” with repeatedly described “tawny-brown eyes.” No hair color is ever mentioned that I could find, so I assume it’s basic brown. He’s a buckskin-wearing American spy courier from up-country, South Carolina, which makes him prejudiced against city girl Sabrina, her Tory beau, and most anyone else who’s not in Francis Marion’s brigade. He’s rude, like Emily’s Stephen to the nth degree.

Setting: Charleston, South Carolina in 1780, toward the end of the American Revolution.

On the Cover: Middle, Sabrina, presumably wearing the pink dress Aunt Agnes makes to replace her formerly green, nasty dyed dress. She looks pretty much as described, with her windswept wild gypsy hair, but I hate how she’s holding one wrist. What’s that about? Couldn’t she have been holding one of the apothecary bottles? Right, Martin, in his Tory Green jacket. Left, Richard in his buckskins. I don’t know who did this illustration, but he or she did a great job of making the characters follow their descriptions. Martin even looks more muscular, while Richard appears “lizard lean.” He also has kind of nondescript dark blond/light brown hair. Bottom left, Martin and Sabrina courting. Sabrina actually looks kind of coy there, which is unlike her.

Sabrina Back Cover

This may be my least-favorite Ransom entry. You know, at the beginning I really like and admire Sabrina. There’s nothing fakey about her, especially in comparison with her socialite cousin. And she believes in the American cause, which is of course the right attitude if you’re reading this book. However, she makes a really despicable choice that almost leads to the death of someone she claims to love.

Then there’s her relationship with Martin, which is supplanted by her infatuation with Richard. I just don’t think Sabrina–or the reader–gets to spend enough time getting to know Richard. I mean, he’s from a poor background, he hates anyone he thinks of as privileged, and he’s a Patriot. Oh, and he doesn’t write very well. But Sabrina believes they’re kindred spirits in an untamed kind of way.

I like that the story on the Revolution is more about the “Swamp Fox” and the end of the war than Philadelphia in 1776, or Boston and Paul Revere. I don’t like that Sabrina, in a very Schurfranzian way, gets to make an 11th-hour journey to warn everyone of a pending attack and save the war. Sabrina gets praised by the Swamp Fox himself, who also promps Richard to propose. I think–I hope–the second-act mess may have been partially the fault of the shortened format.

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