Where should I even start with reviewing this book? Born of Persuasion is the first book in what has become one of my favorite series of all time. I’m not saying that lightly. I had the honor of reading book 2 in this series, Mark of Distinction, as a historical romance judge for the INSPY awards this year. Turns out Mark of Distinction WON the 2015 INSPY award in its category! *insert happy dance here* Now that the judging process is over, I am free to gush about and discuss all of the wonderful books I read.
First, here’s a synopsis of Born of Persuasion: 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.
Let’s see if I can coherently share my bubbling thoughts.
For any fans of the Victorian era, this series is perfection. It has the feel of a slightly gothic setting with deep, complex characters. Born of Persuasion is certainly a page-turner! The story is told from a first person narrative in the future, so it’s like Julia is telling her life story with additional insight. Her added hints at trials to come increase the mystery and foreshadowing of events through the story. Let’s just say it makes the reader anxious over what could happen next. And anxious over WHO to trust.
While this IS certainly a Christian fiction book, it is extremely different in the fact that the heroine is an atheist. But, she is so well written she is very likable and easy to identify with. I think her viewpoint is relevant to today because the spiritual struggles she faces are ones countless people battle with: belief in God, hypocritical people. and judgmental attitudes. Author Jessica Dotta stretches her spiritual journey and transformation over all three books in the series, so I won’t say more about it just yet.
It has been several weeks since I read this series, but it’s still something I can’t get over. It’s still fresh in my mind! Words cannot possibly convey the amazingness that is this series. Through it all, suspense and mystery are perfectly maintained. With unexpected MAJOR twists around every corner, there is never a dull moment. (Have I used enough CAPS in this review yet?) All I have left to say is you should read this soon.
Do you have a favorite book or series that is stuck in your mind and won’t let go? Are you a fan of Victorian intrigue? I’d love to hear your thoughts!