By Jessica Dotta
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2013, 435 pages, Historical/Inspirational Fiction
In 1838, at the young age of 17, Julia Elliston finds herself an orphan. She has a mysterious guardian she has never met who has arranged for her to serve as a lady’s companion in far-off Scotland. Julia has just two months to come up with a plan of her own, and that means she has two months to get married. Two options present themselves. Should Julia cast her lot with her childhood sweetheart, Edward; or with the mysterious and alluring Mr. Macy?
When I see a cover like this I automatically make some assumptions: the story is historical fiction, possibly inspirational fiction, and there might be some light romance. You can imagine my surprise, then, when I picked up this novel and discovered it was a gothic tale!
Julia Elliston can’t trust anyone. Everyone she knows has an ulterior motive. Mr. Macy especially feels like he was pulled directly from a Bronte novel with his dark looks and mysterious, brooding past. I was actually fairly convinced he was a vampire (in the Bram Stoker definition of the word) for most of the novel, and now that I’ve finished I’m not 100% certain that he isn’t. Dotta’s writing is definitely reminiscent of the time period, and that usually works to her advantage in building the suspense, although it sometimes drew me out of the story too.
This is a great read for anyone interested in the Brontes or other gothic writers of the time period. Be forewarned: This is actually the first book in a trilogy, and I’ve got book two checked out!