Publication Date: January 3, 2023
Christy Award-winning author, Laura Frantz, is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. Proud of her heritage, she is also a Daughter of the American Revolution. When not at home in Kentucky, she and her husband live in Washington State.
When Blythe Hedley returns home from the French court, she discovers that her father, the Earl of Northumberland, is far more enmeshed in the Jacobite cause than suspected. With the new Hanoverian king installed in London, the Jacobites are agitating to bring back the Stuart king from over the water. Blythe’s father sends her for safekeeping to the Scottish castle of her godfather, the Earl of Wedderburn. But the only trouble is that the old earl has just passed away, and it’s his imposing son Everard who holds the title now.
Dismayed to be saddled with a strong-willed English heiress who is both Catholic and a Jacobite, Everard Hume insists on keeping Blythe’s presence at the castle a secret. But as she begins to tutor his young brother Orin, Everard begins to appreciate her learning, her elegance, and her wisdom. As feelings grow, he begins to consider Northumberland’s offer of a marriage alliance, but he must deal with Blythe’s doubts of his affection for her and the English king’s own doubts of his loyalty.
Throughout the story, Blythe must contend with insecurities about her appearance (she is considered plain by many) as well as insecurity about her mother’s shameful role as mistress to one of the previous English kings. The religious divide between her and Everard is far greater than one might suppose as a marriage between them would be impossible without one of them renouncing their faith to marry in the other’s church. Everard, gruff and intimidating, must learn to communicate with an English lady unused to his Scottish ways, discovering that a lady’s country of origin is perhaps far less important than her adherence to true principles, kind words, and godly action.
In true Laura Frantz style, this story is told with sophisticated and sometimes archaic vocabulary; however, a glossary is provided at the beginning to help with the Scottish phrases that pepper the dialogue. As is also common in Laura Frantz’s stories, the tale does not wrap up with a neat “happily ever after” once the hero and heroine declare their love for each other; the story arc requires continued grit and fidelity until the historical crisis is resolved. While most of Frantz’s books are set in early America, a few of her other books have taken place in Scotland–a setting I much prefer. This period of history, with the installation of the first Hanover king, is a relatively new one for me, and I found the politics of the time as fascinating as the personal interplay between the main characters.
A well-spun tale of courage and conviction, this book will delight fans of Laura Frantz’s work and those interested in an intricate romance that remains faithful the historical setting.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this title from the author via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
“Pain knifed him, carving up his heart before moving to his middle. He’d lost stone since her capture. Eating seemed to be the concern of those whose hearts were whole, who didn’t live with the paralyzing uncertainty of where a loved one was and if they’d ever be reunited.”The Rose and the Thistle, by Laura Frantz
AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP | GOODREADS
Enjoyed this review? Stay up-to-date with Rose’s latest releases, reviews, and feature articles by signing up for her newsletter mailing list.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Rose. Laura is a very gifted story teller. I enjoyed being in this era and the romance between the main couple.