Rating: 4 Stars
Review: Jessica Dotta's "Price of Privilege Trilogy" arrested my attention like few others. It's deep, dark, with intrigue powered by mystery and lead characters straight out of a Bronte or Dickens novel. Dotta created an amazingly developed series with so many layers and details, that each novel is completely dependent upon its predecessor. In fact, I re-read "Born of Persuasion" before reading "Mark of Distinction" and "Price of Privilege" back-to-back.
Julia's story is definitely full of twists, turns, and nail-biting tension. Her first person perspective lends more mystery to the plot, because like Julia, we can only speculate about the true motives of other characters. Although she doesn't make the best decisions, it is easy to understand her confusion, fear, and desperation. By the end of the first novel, I was invested in Julia's life and anxiously awaiting the continuation of her story. I absolutely loved the pace of events in the first two novels. They offered the perfect balance of emotion and action. In all three, Dotta employs foreshadowing, which builds suspense and reader engagement. "Price of Privilege" leaned more heavily on Julia's emotions and introspection, particularly in the first half of the novel. There are eventful scenes in the first 200 or so pages, and plenty of cryptic comments from Julia, hinting at pain to come. Most of what is foreshadowed comes in the novel's final half, making it hard to put down.
I questioned how the tale could end happily, and as the culmination of Julia's past decisions occurs there is unavoidable pain and heartbreak. A tidy happy-ever-after ending would have been a complete disappointment, but Dotta delivers some of the most powerful scenes of the entire trilogy in the concluding chapters. Readers, prepare yourselves for a tear-jerking conclusion. It is an achingly bittersweet example of love and sacrifice. The loss of a beloved character will leave your heart breaking alongside Julia's. I closed the book wishing that I had privy to the inner emotions of that particular character. But, knowing only Julia's perspective made me feel the loss more poignantly.
Jessica Dotta's richly written "Price of Privilege Trilogy" is one that is not to be missed. Each novel definitely ranks high among the books that I have read in the past year. These books are not in danger of being labelled as "forgettable," with a series that is so sweeping and encompassing.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers through their book review program. 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 House Publishers: Having finally discovered the truth of her birthright, Julia Elliston is determined to outwit Chance Macy at his own game. Holding a secret he’d kill to keep, however, is proving more difficult than she imagined.
Just when Julia thinks she’s managed to untangle herself from Macy’s clutches, he changes tactics with a risky ploy. As the scandal of the century breaks loose, drawing rooms all over London whisper what so far newspapers have not dared to print: Macy’s lost bride is none other than Lord Pierson’s daughter—and one of the most controversial cases of marital law ever seen comes before Victorian courts.
Though Julia knows Macy’s version of events is another masterful manipulation, public opinion is swaying in his favor. Caught in a web of deceit and lies, armed only with a fledgling faith, Julia must face her fiercest trial yet.