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.
*Since this series is a continuation, I’ll only share the blurb for the first book.
WOW-WEE!! Not only is this a fantastic series, but as I looked over my list of book awards for the year, I could easily hand SEVERAL awards to this series alone. Here’s a quick list: Best supporting character, Most gripping storyline, Best series, Most read author, Kept me guessing, Best villain, Best narrator. Lol Maybe I should add one for Most awards. 😉
But seriously, I cannot brag about this series enough. In fact, I personally emailed the author to find out when we could find more of her fantastic work.–Incase you’re wondering, she’s hard at work but our wait will be some longer yet.
One of the factors that stood out to me the most in this series was how Dotta worked completely out of the box. Anything goes with this one and I loved her unpredictability. I find it tedious when you always know how the story ends and it seems as if Dotta would agree. I can’t count the number of times she made me change my mind about what I wanted for the heroine or what I expect would happen next.
Needless to say, this is one series that I plan to keep on my shelf to re-read again later . . . or re-listen to as the case may be. I had the pleasure of listening to portions of this series in audio and found it even more enjoyable. There was something about the narrator’s voice that I liked. But when she spoke for the characters and infused their personality and emotions into the line, I felt like I was in the room with them. When I switched to ebook form, I could still hear her voice in my head.
I will say this for fellow sensitive readers, there are some rather passionate moments. The first novel more than any of them, I believe. I think I was more uncomfortable while reading the first novel because I didn’t know what to expect from the author. In hindsight, she stops when she should but I would rate it a PG-13 (a true PG-13, not those overly trashy PG-13s that everyone knows should have been rated R. 😉 ) But that’s on my sensitive scale. Others may not find it as strongly as I did.
This series is a continuation. You MUST read it in order. Thankfully for you, all books are available so you can keep right on trucking from one to the other. Again, I was in awe of Dotta’s ability to write three full-sized novels from one POV character and yet keep the ideas and pages turning. There wasn’t a dull moment.
In the early pages, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the author’s theme or spiritual message. Having read them, I can honestly tell you that you’re in for more than just grit and intrigue. Dotta has woven in a strong and sturdy message on coming to faith in Christ, on trusting Christ with everything, and SOLELY leaning on Christ in the good times and the bad–and believe me, these characters know a thing or two about hard times.
Rating and Recommendation: Clearly, I loved it, and since I’m reviewing 3 books, I can give them 15 stars as they rightly deserve. Lol If you enjoy an unpredictable novel, something gritty yet still clean enough for a Christian reader, then this is a must-read for you!