Rating: 5 Stars
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Review: Unpredictable, rich, and dramatic, "Born of Persuasion" is a captivating debut novel. Jessica Dotta's style is described as reminiscent of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, and the influence is clear from the beginning. A few of Dotta's characters called to mind some personalities from Jane Austen's works. The English countryside with its quaint cottages and imposing estates sets a familiar scene, perfectly complimenting the story that it frames.
"Born of Persuasion" is vastly different from any of the inspirational, historical fiction novels that I have read in the past few years. This is one book that is impossible to confuse with any other; it is undeniably unique. Dotta establishes suspense and questions from the very first sentence and does not release the reader from the pull of the plot. Told in first-person perspective by the heroine, Julia Elliston, the story leaves the reader questioning the motives of nearly every character. Foreshadowing is a common element used to hint at upcoming peril throughout the course of the plot. Julia takes the reader into her personal confidence as she tells her oftentimes heartbreaking story. Her decisions are not perfect and her faith is practically nonexistent. She unveils her actions and their consequences slowly, building drama and keeping the reader's attention.
I am still questioning the actions of certain characters and debating over who will ultimately be revealed as good and bad. There is enough of a conclusion to hint at the answers, but "Born of Persuasion" is full of so many unexpected turns that it is almost impossible to guess what the other two novels in the series may reveal. The only downfall is that we must wait in anticipation for a year before the next novel, "Mark of Distinction," is released.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers through Net Galley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Summary from Tyndale: 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.