Let’s start with a confession. As a girl who doesn’t read “Gothic” fiction, the most prominent name I can think of in the genre are the Bronte sisters. Between the three of them, the genre is proudly represented albeit often with a tragic outcome. Debuting in the fiction market, this year, Jessica Dotta brings a fresh voice to the genre lending a unique perspective and narrative to the young heroine. The story opens with the 17-year-old Julia Elliston arriving at Am Meer. The simple estate is home to Julia’s best friend, Elizabeth and her mother Mrs. Windham, who attempts to socially control Julia under the guise of being her “chaperone.”
Under the protection of a mysterious “guardian” who plans to place Julia in a service position in Scotland, Julia makes plans of her own hoping to rid her life of this faceless stranger. But she’s soon caught in the middle of a power struggle she doesn’t understand and becomes a pawn, a fragile position that could be her undoing.
Born of Persuasion, by Jessica Dotta | Book Review
During the first fourth of the novel, I have to be honest, I do struggle. The overview of the book is excellent, it begs a new kind of curiosity and demands attention, yet nothing seems to go anywhere whereas Julia is a predicament of a character; the character never seems to fully “reveal” herself. Any first person narrative should facilitate better knowledge of the heroine if no one else, yet Jessica seem to keep her character’s emotions close; she shifts from sorrow, anger and scared reactions rapidly. It feels like she’s always on the cusp of a reaction, but no more. Time and time again, the narrative reads more as if its protagonist is the narrator rather than a present part of the conversation.‘BORN OF PERSUASION,’ BY JESSICA DOTTA #FWarchives #BookReviews #HistoricalFiction Click To Tweet
In Jessica’s author note, she recounts her journey to finally publishing this book; it’s a story that she brands as “insisting” to be told and really, it’s good. Skillful in telling the story, the period detail and the subtle intrigue does impress; the story begs us to question every dubious thing. Each subject goes between “good” and “evil,” and nearly every character is called out by their peers to question their intentions. Of course as a reader, our own trust of these players experiences highs and lows. While reading I wanted to like Julia’s dalliance with Macy; he seems kind and loving of her, then his temper inspires distrust and every good thing melts. Somewhere between his deceptive charm and tender care of Julia, I want to believe there was a good man inside.
Considering the end of the book, there are many things still open. Readers who enjoy a taste of this style of fiction will enjoy this historical tale of intrigue. There’s rarely a passage that goes by in which I don’t recognize elements of Jane Austen working into similarities of Gothic Bronte.
About the Book:
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Author: Jessica Dotta
Publisher: Tyndale House
Publication Date: September 2013 (ARC Book)
Series: Price of Privilege – book 1
Genre: Fiction; Historical, Mystery
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Rating: 3 out of 5*
*Originally, this novel did receive a 4 out of 5 rating
Sincere thanks to author Jessica Dotta for providing a complimentary copy of this book