The year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland.
With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first choice to marry her childhood sweetheart is denied. But when a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, a realm of possibilities opens. However, treachery and deception are as much a part of Victorian society as titles and decorum, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s mysterious past. Before she knows what’s happening, Julia finds herself a pawn in a deadly game between two of the country’s most powerful men. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel the secrets on her own. But sometimes truth is elusive and knowledge is deadly.
What I liked about this book:
The setting. I thought Ms. Dotta did a fabulous job of taking the reader back to 1838 in Great Britain. Her knowledge of the times led a credibility to the story. I also think she managed to capture the gothic lean of the novel that happened towards the middle of the book with the recluse and the house and locks on doors, etc. I also found her premise to an original and fresh look at Merry old England.
What I didn’t like:
The main character. Julia was not very kind. She based her decisions off of her feelings rather than on what was logically in front of her, and she just wasn’t trustworthy as a narrator. Let me just premise this with the fact that I love gothic fiction. I’ve read Victoria Holt, Daphne Du Maurier, T.E. Huff, to name a few. A huge part of gothic fiction is secrets and trusting people who may not be what they seem, but there was a certain person that she trusted in this book who was glaringly off on so many different levels. In fact, there was no one person in the novel that made me sigh with relief when they stepped on the pages. All of the characters seemed to make me more hesitant to read the book than excited.
I will say, the book ends and implies that in the sequel, Julia will have it all together. Perhaps. But in this one she had me simply confused.
Spiritually, you have one person who is supposed to be the kind of spiritual rock. Except he kept charging into things head first without seeking God. I loved his passion for the things of God. I loved how he wanted to change the world. He was, perhaps, not very wise in his doings however.
Now, let me just say, that I generally like novels where I can kind of see where they are going. I could not see where this one was going and that might be why I didn’t enjoy it as much. If that doesn’t bother you, than you will probably enjoy this much more than I did.
Romantic scale: 6
** I received this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in any way.**