Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta is the first in a trilogy entitled Price of Privilege. Readers who are caught up in 17 year old Julia Elliston's plight will find the dramatic and suspenseful ending difficult to handle since the second and third books will not be published until 2014. Fans of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters may find this tale to their liking. It is 1838 and following her mother's (her father died previously) death, Julia finds herself under the control of an anonymous guardian who seems intent on sending her from England to Scotland to work as a lady's companion. Sure that marriage is her only escape, Julia plots to return to the home of a childhood friend where she plans to reconnect with her childhood sweetheart and hold him to his promise to wed. When she learns that he has become a vicar, Julia is crushed. Years before, her father, an outspoken atheist, was treated badly by the church and the young seventeen year old has accepted his view that God does not exist. It seems that she and her dear Edward will not wed after all, and Julia must find another husband in haste or be sent to the wilds of Scotland. As she settles into a bargain with Lady Foxmore, a dark cloud of mystery settles over the story. Frankly, as readers, we will never know who to trust or what the great secrecy is about Julia's past, but then neither does Julia. A huge, remote estate is the scene for much of the book. It's winding hallways, locked doors, and gossiping servants attempts to create a tone of foreboding and impending danger similar to Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca and other Gothic romances. Unfortunately, I didn't care for Julia nearly as much as I did Rebecca when I read her story years ago. I believe that in telling a story so long and complicated that it takes three separate books, authors create a risk of taking too long to develop a strong reader-heroine connection. I think that the surprises in Julia's life, her poor choices, and her past will lead her to profound changes in the future books (a relationship with a God she denies??), but I haven't connected deeply enough to care. That may short changing the trilogy, since I've found many other series to build as they continued. I hope that Price of Privilege is that way.
I received a copy of this book form Tyndale in exchange for my honest review. I was ot compensated in any way. All opinions are mine.