I recently learned about a Scottish historical author named Julia Brannan when she asked for authors to participate in her release party for book five in her Jacobite Chronicles series. She’s basically a self-publishing master, with flawless editing, cover design, and has won numerous awards. Now, I just finished book one in this series, Mask of Duplicity and I have a lot of thoughts…
Genre: Historical Fiction
When sassy Beth Cunningham’s father dies, she’s left in the care of her estranged half-brother Richard, who isn’t exactly the kind of brother one would be pleased to have. This becomes clear when he finds that the family’s funds are tied up in Beth’s sizable dowry. Beth is strong, smart, and quite unlike the soft women that are held in high regard. And if Richard has his way, half-Scottish Beth’s wild ways would be squashed and he would be in complete control of the estates. But our heroine isn’t vanquished so easily.
By the time Beth launches into proper society, Richard has shown his dreadful, creepy, true colors, but Beth soldiers on, even meeting a charming man who may be her perfect match. But this isn’t just a book where an English Rose gets the ring and rides off into the sunset. Beth is thrown into a world where everyone has secrets, hidden loyalties, and ways to get what they all truly want; power.When marriage is the only escape and war is on the horizon, can Beth ever find a way to be free?
Even before you reach chapter one, Brannan has set the scene by giving you timelines, character lists, and a promise to keep things as historically accurate around her fictional characters as she can. She certainly delivers on this promise, and I’m reminded of the way Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series, weaves real events around her characters easily, making you almost wonder if the characters are really only a figment of the author’s imagination. As someone with a history degree and an interest in that time period, I found it highly entertaining.
It’s a heavy read that you will will want to really pay attention to and not something you can half take in while on the beach. You need to remember political issues, the motives of the characters, and all the name. But there’s also some guides in the front of the book to make this a bit easier. Overall, I enjoyed this book and the next is on my “to read” list!